‘Vidyagama not leading to infections’

Unfortunate that a good initiative is being portrayed in poor light: Minister

Amid reports that over 23 children in Belagavi and four in Kalaburagi districts had tested positive for COVID-19 after attending Vidyagama, a continuous learning programme for children of government schools, Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar on Friday said children who tested positive were “not infected because of attending Vidyagama” and that the initiative was “safe”.

It was reported that over 23 children from Timmapura village in Belagavi district and four students from Mashala village in Kalaburagi district tested positive after attending Vidyagama programme held on a temple premises and a school campus, respectively.

“In Timmapura village, many villagers, including 23 children, have tested positive. The Deputy Director has clarified that there is no basis for the argument that the children got infected because of Vidyagama,” Mr. Kumar said. The Deputy Director of Public Instruction, Belagavi, told The Hindu that the students were asymptomatic and that the head master and teachers had tested negative.

Reacting to media reports on cases in Kalaburagi district, Mr. Kumar said that on September 22, 203 students from Mashala village were tested on random sampling basis out of which four tested positive.

“However, even there the Deputy Director has said that the students did not contract the virus on the school campus where Vidyagama was conducted as minimum number of students participate in the programme with necessary precautions,” he said.

Mr. Kumar said that it was unfortunate that a good initiative like Vidyagama was being portrayed in poor light.

However, there have been reports on concerns about COVID-19 precautions, including wearing masks and social distancing, not being followed during Vidyagama. Basavaraj Gurikar of the All India Teachers’ Federation urged the government to stop Vidyagama as it violated various COVID-19 precautionary measures and rules.

No decision on re-opening schools: CM

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has said that the government would take a call on reopening schools after discussing the issue with all party leaders, officials, experts, and other stakeholders. He also appealed to parents and students not to pay heed to any rumours. Meanwhile, Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar has reiterated that the government is “not in a hurry” to reopen schools.

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