Ensure stringent compliance with ‘SMS’ (social distancing, mask use and sanitising) to tackle the possible spread of COVID-19, especially in schools, according to the State chapter of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics. Studies have shown that COVID-19 poses very low risk to the physical health of children as compared to adults. However, children remain asymptomatic and can carry significant viral load. They can potentially spread the pandemic among the general population, according to a paper published by the IAP on the guidelines for school reopening in October last.
“Schools act as the nodal points for spread of the virus. We have to continue practising the SMS till the pandemic situation is resolved,” said M. Narayanan, president of the IAP, Kerala.
The guidelines by IAP said that those with body temperature beyond 99.4 F (37.3 degree Celsius) or those who report a history of fever or ‘feeling feverish’ in the previous 24 hours should be denied entry in schools and referred for medical care.
The government authorities should be informed, if a student/staff/visitor turns positive for SARS-CoV-2. The infected person should be asked to stay away from school for at least 14 days.School buildings, classrooms and toilets should be cleaned and sanitised at regular intervals and in between the two shifts. Places of frequent hand touch like doorknobs, desks, benches, switches, etc. should be disinfected repeatedly. A record of these activities should be maintained.
Three-layered cotton masks should be made compulsory for all students, teachers, school employees and visitors. Spitting should be strictly banned and boards explaining its problems should be displayed prominently.