Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) were being conducted for teachers of government schools from Mysuru district since the last three days

Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) were being conducted for teachers of government schools from Mysuru district since the last three days

The teaching community in Mysuru district is in a state of worry as many teachers from the government schools were said to have tested positive to COVID-19 during the free test conducted by the Department of Health and Family Welfare since past few days. The tests had been halted for the time being.

The teachers across the district were undergoing rapid antigen tests (RATs) in the designated centre since the last three days. As on Wednesday, over 650 teachers had been tested in Mysuru city with several of them found to have contracted the infection. Details from the taluk centres where testing was also conducted were awaited for collating the results.

Uday Kumar, Education Officer, Office of the DDPI, Mysuru confirmed to The Hindu that teachers had been found to have contracted the infection after the testing and all of them had been complying with the mandated guidelines. “The DDPI Mysuru, Panduranga, and four staff members in his office too have tested positive to the infection.”

The office of the DDPI had received instructions for carrying out COVID-19 testing to all teachers perhaps in expectation of the reopening of the schools. However, the State government had taken a decision not to reopen the schools and colleges until October 15.

District Vector Borne Diseases Controlling Officer S. Chidambar said RATs were conducted for teachers here and nearly 200-plus teachers underwent the tests daily since the last three days. On all three days, there were positive cases and the exact number of cases among the teaching community would be known on Thursday with the data being checked. Those with symptoms and testing negative in RATs had been subjected to RT-PCR and the results of some of the samples were awaited.

“Now the tests have been halted. If they (DDPI office) want tests again on teachers, we are ready to do it,” he said.

Mysuru district alone has over 7,000 teachers and it is not clear whether the tests would be continued, covering all teachers, in the light of the positive cases.

Also, the Vidyagama programme may face hurdles in the wake of infections among the teachers. The initiative came under praise as teachers went to the doorsteps of the children in villages and conducted classes to ensure that none drop out of schools following closure of schools since many months and with the reopening being delayed with no let-up in new infections.

Nevertheless, apprehensions are also being expressed over teachers being exposed to the risks of contracting the infection as they had been told to get engaged in the teaching process visiting the community since many children, especially those in rural areas, are not able to afford online education.

Thanks to Vidyagama, many government schools that had been shut down since past two years are readying for reopening because of admission of children who are leaving the private schools and joining the schools run by the government in Mysuru, Mandya, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar districts.