PU schools and colleges (classes 6 to 12) have a few days left to resume operation with 100% attendance from October 1 new Covid-19 clusters reported by educational institutions in Bengaluru and Kolar have drawn the attention of officials in Karnataka’s health and education departments.
The cluster in the capital of Karnataka has been identified by health authorities after tests were carried out at Sri Chaitanya PU hostel and CBSE College located near Electronics City Phase 2, after a student tested positive September 26.
According to a PU college staff member, the student who tested positive first (Sunday) was an inmate at the hostel. “While the student had developed symptoms such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea, she first underwent a rapid antigen test which came back positive. An RT-PCR test was also performed for confirmation, which was also positive, ”the staff member said.
Dr Vinay Kumar, head of health for Anekal Taluk, added that other students started to develop symptoms soon after which 27 other students who had RAT tested positive, while RT-PCR was recommended to others.
The incident was also reported to health authorities in the urban district of Bengaluru after it was identified that a total of 485 students and 57 staff, including 22 teachers, were in the hostel.
“While 27 of the 105 total samples sent for antigen testing came back positive on Monday, 33 others tested positive after RT-PCR tests were performed the next day,” confirmed G Srinivas, Health Unit of the urban district of Bengaluru (DHO). The campus is now declared a containment zone. “Students and staff living in other blocks are also being subjected to RT-PCR testing now even if they are asymptomatic,” DHO added.
Meanwhile, Bengaluru Urben deputy commissioner J Manjunath said all hostels inmates would be retested on the seventh day. “As a proactive measure, the institution will be closed until October 20,” he said.
Health officials are looking at students’ travel history, as fourteen of those who tested positive were from Tamil Nadu while others were from different parts of the state, including Kalaburagi, Raichur and Ballari.
College staff said it was decided to only include two inmates in each room due to the situation, instead of four sharing a room previously. “All had submitted negative RT-PCR reports before September 6, the start date of the courses. We weren’t expecting an outbreak here at all, ”the staff member said.
Meanwhile, parents who gathered outside the hostel demanded that their wards be sent home due to the situation. “We have been told to obtain the consent of the district watch officer before allowing parents to take back their wards and this is strictly followed,” the staff member added.
“The situation is being closely monitored and all necessary items, including pulse oximeters and disinfectants, have been distributed to inmates at the hostel. The campus premises and the hostel were also disinfected, ”added the DHO.
Meanwhile, 12 students from Chinmaya High School in Kolar have tested positive after the health service performed RT-PCR tests on nearly 400 students in grades 9 and 10. “There is no need to panic because all were asymptomatic and were informed of the home isolation. Testing has been improved with nearly 1,000 samples randomly collected daily and sent for testing, ”said a senior health official.