72 students test positive for COVID-19

A total of 72 students tested positive for COVID-19 but including college and institutional students.

Within this 44 school students have tested positive for COVID-19 as of 1st January. These are 21 in Thimphu, 21 in Paro, 1 in Haa and 1 in Bumthang.

Currently, the 44 school students are being kept in the isolation facility in Thimphu. Parents and students are being provided psychosocial support services.

Chief of Career Education and Counselling Division (CECD), Ministry of Education, Reena Thapa said the students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation have been reached out to by the School Guidance Counsellors on a daily basis to provide psychosocial support services.

Reena Thapa said the services provided are not just to the students but also to their parents who are equally worried. Counsellors also reach out and provide services to the other students and staff who are affected by the news of positive cases although they are not infected by COVID-19.

The services provided do not limit to once every day but more than once when there is a need. The School Guidance Counsellors do not just wait for the calls from the students and parents. In fact the counsellors call them to check on their wellbeing and provide interventions according to their needs.

Given the current situation, it is impossible to provide face to face services to the students in isolation facility. Therefore, whatever services provided are through phone calls and text messages, social media platforms like Messenger, WeChat and WhatsApp.

The students who tested positive shared that they were anxious initially but now they said that they were doing well.

“Our School Guidance Counsellors are doing their best to provide online counselling and psycho-education,” said Reena Thapa.

Education Minister Jai Bir Rai said the students who tested positive will be well taken care of and after they recover from the infection, they will continue their classes. Right now the students are given counseling since they are young and they are worried. The ministry is also checking up on them from time to time.

Meanwhile, the ministry has given direction to the dzongkhag as how to monitor the students who are in isolation facilities. For now, the classes will be continuing online and for schools in border areas they will continue as per their convenience and boarder students will continue with normal classes. After the lockdown lifts, the education ministry will direct all the schools again.

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