Omicron alert: Parents aren’t panicking, but want schools shut if cases rise

Survey shows a majority of parents want authorities to refrain from shutting schools till Omicron comes to their district or vicinity

Schools in most states resumed in-person classes in August-September this year after daily COVID-19 cases started to decline post the aggressive second wave of the pandemic, but the growth of Omicron strain threatens to shut schools once again. | Representative image

Most parents want local authorities to shut schools only if multiple Omicron cases are found in their district or in 25 kilometres of their vicinity, according to a new survey.

The survey with over 10,000 parents as respondents was conducted amid concerns being raised over the new COVID-19 variant and its rising cases.

There were respondents from over 332 districts of the country, and 61 per cent of the participants were men while 39 per cent were women.

“Majority parents preferred shutting in-person schools if there are multiple Omicron cases in the district or in nearby districts (within 25-kilometre radius), while 12 per cent said shut in-person schools if there is even a single Omicron case in the district and in nearby districts,” the survey conducted by online platform Local Circles stated.

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Twenty-one per cent citizens also said that “shut in-person schools if there is even a single (non-travel history) Omicron case in the district or in nearby districts”, the survey stated. Nine per cent said shut schools if there is even a single — non-travel history — Omicron patient in the district or in nearby districts.

Forty-five per cent of the respondents were from Tier-1 districts, 31 per cent from Tier-2 districts and 24 per cent were from Tier-3, Tier-4 and rural districts.

Also read: COVID care: ‘Be patient with children, understand their emotions’

The findings indicate that majority of parents want their district administration to shut schools if multiple Omicron cases are found in their district or in 25-kilometre vicinity. This question in the survey received 9,694 responses, the report by online survey platform stated.

“With limited outdoor air ventilation in most classes and no access to air purifiers and high transmissibility of Omicron, many parents are concerned that once it is in the community in their district, it will likely spread very rapidly among children in school,” it said.

“Evaluation of the responses given by parents indicates that most parents want authorities to refrain from shutting schools till Omicron comes to their district or vicinity, whereas, only 30 per cent of parents want authorities to wait till a community (non-travel) Omicron case is found in their district or vicinity,” the survey stated. Knowing that Omicron is highly transmissible, most parents want their district administration to take swift action and shut schools once multiple cases of the variant are identified in the district, it added.

Schools in most states resumed in-person classes in August-September this year after daily COVID-19 cases started to decline post the aggressive second wave of the pandemic.
However, once again, the country is on alert after reporting over 75 cases of the more transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 within a matter of two weeks.

(With inputs from agencies)

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