Ministry of Education

MoE concerned about possible impact of Delta Variant on unvaccinated students and their education

With the surge in COVID-19 positive cases in the neighboring countries and in Bhutan, the Ministry of Education (MoE) is increasingly becoming concerned about how the pandemic can again interrupt the 2021 academic year.

In 2020, much of the classes had to be conducted online, often compromising the quality of education.

Therefore, MoE has put in place safety measures in place with regard to the Delta COVID-19 variant detected in the country.

The MoH found that 87 percent of the 30 samples it send to Bangkok for genome sequencing had the Delta variant know to be twice as infectious as the original COVID-19 and also known to attack young children equally unlike before.

With the support of the Ministry of Health (MoH), staff and students undergo regular antigen or RT-PCR tests, particularly those in high-risk zones, but frequency can be lesser for other areas.

Functional hand washing stations with soap in strategic points are in place. Infrared thermometer at entry points with proper surveillance system is in place.

There is proper use of facemask in the school premises and beyond.

Maintaining physical distance whenever possible, and avoiding gathering in the school, proper Druk Trace at the entry points, reporting system has been developed by the health ministry, and there is frequent monitoring by officials from dzongkhag or thromde, and from the education ministry.

The Education Minister, Jai Bir Rai, said all the schools are following COVID-19 protocols very strictly, but if in case a student contracts the infection then all the students will be affected. With the recent false positive case in Druk School, MoE and MoH immediately discussed the way forward and made strategic plans.

Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said the Pfizer vaccines should be provided to students who are in high risk areas, like in Phuentsholing, Gomtu, Samdrup Jongkhar and Samtse, as it would help better protect them.

MoE has also proposed for relocation of Phuentsholing students from classes IX to XII. Phuentsholing has been taking up online classes, and with that, a lot of challenges have been faced. If schools are closed due to lockdown then children will not sit for the mid-term exam instead they will be done through continued assessment

Principal of Changzamtog Middle Secondary School in Thimphu, Sonam Phuntsho, said the school is following the COVID-19 protocols very stringently, and not allowing outsiders in school premises unless they have some urgent work. The school has also restricted the students from bringing junk food inside the campus.

Similarly schools around the country are following the COVID-19 protocols stringently and enhancing the safety measures.

According to the international news, the number one symptom of Delta Variant is headache followed by runny nose, sore throat and fever.  

The Delta Variant is the most transmissible form of the novel coronavirus.  It means that the variant can more easily spread among kids, too. Indeed, several countries have recently recorded a higher share of coronavirus cases among children.

Researchers in Scotland also found that Delta cases were present mostly in younger age groups. In the UK overall, a study, still awaiting peer review, found that coronavirus infections were now five times more prevalent among children ages 5 to 12 years, and young adults 18 to 24 years than among people older than 65.

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