The task force recommended priority vaccination for teachers and school staff, and said it could be safely opened to the education sector before July.
The Lancet COVID-19 Commission India Task Force said in a report, “We strongly recommend that teachers and school staff are vaccinated on a priority basis.”
“We recognize that in states with high rates of infections, it will not be possible to open schools immediately, especially in the context of clusters of infections in and around hostels. However, we believe that the next two months can be used to prepare the education sector for a safe opening in July 2021 for the next academic year,” it added.
The task force issued another set of recommendations for the safe reopening of schools. “We strongly urge governments to consider the significant and potentially catastrophic losses in learning, especially for children from low-income families, that have already occurred due to extensive school closures, and to limit such instances as much as possible”, it added.
In terms of international travel, it recommends that all visitors from other countries must undergo a 7-day institutional quarantine and undergo an RT-PCR test on the 8th day. If the test result is negative, they can choose to be quarantined in another week. The local community can be mobilized to ensure the effectiveness of family isolation.
The task force recommends no restrictions on domestic travel within or between cities. Recommendations should be issued to promote safe behavior, and testing should be conducted on the source and target sites. Each state will need to determine its own agreement based on the volume of cases and local conditions.
“We recognize that seasonal migration of workers from urban areas to rural areas is about to commence with the start of the harvest season. We recommend that state governments make a special effort to support migrant labours in these journeys, equipping them with masks, options for testing and vaccination where eligible, and by setting up quarantine centres in host districts to manage the spread of the virus from cities to rural areas”, it added.