Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa on Tuesday said the government will consider opening higher educational institutions in a phased manner after vaccinating students and teachers, following recommendations from the Dr Devi Shetty-led expert committee on possible COVID-19 third wave. He said the committee has advised accelerating vaccinations as vaccines are the solution for COVID control.
”The committee has supported the relaxations in COVID curbs announced by the government, and have suggested opening up educational institutions in the days to come, starting with higher education colleges, after vaccinating,” Yediyurappa said. Speaking to reporters after meeting with the committee, he said with regard to opening schools and colleges, the committee has suggested giving priority to students and teachers in vaccination, to start classes in a phased manner by reopening colleges for students above 18 years to begin with, after vaccinating them.
”The government is considering opening higher educational institutions in a phased manner after vaccinating students and teachers,” the Chief Minister said in response to a question. No discussion has been held with regard to opening schools as those below 18-years are not yet vaccinated, and clinical trials are on to vaccinate them, the CM said.
The Karnataka government had recently constituted a 13-member expert committee headed by eminent cardiologist and founder of Narayana Health Dr Devi Shetty to analyse and advise to control a possible third Covid-19 wave in Karnataka. The committee met the Chief Minister today and submitted an interim report.
”We have had detailed discussions regarding preparations for the COVID third wave. It is being said that children will be infected in a bigger number during the third wave and in this backdrop the committee has made some recommendations,” Yediyurappa said. Listing some recommendations made by the committee, the Chief Minister said, it has asked for setting up of HDU, ICU units for children at taluk and district hospitals and also at medical college hospitals, and to set up children hospitals.
The committee has given some suggestions aimed at securing human and financial resources and to get help from experts to control the third wave, he said. They include getting help from various medical organisations, resolving the shortage of doctors and nurses, getting support from voluntary organisations, resource mobilisation with the help of corporate bodies, and most importantly public participation.
Noting that the committee has suggested giving priority towards getting rid of malnutrition, the CM said it has suggested providing psychiatric service at every hospital aimed at increasing the morale of children infected by COVID. It has made certain recommendations, among others, towards addressing the shortage of oxygen.
Not wanting to divulge much on the report, Dr Shetty said, ”It’s an interim report, not the final report..we have addressed everything about COVID. It’s a complex decision (reopening of schools).. no single body can take a decision,” and added that the government will consult multiple bodies and experts and take a call.