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Assam: Rising cases of Covid-19 in Educational Institutions; Are we fully prepared yet?

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Despite taking all the precautionary measures, the state of Assam has failed to prevent its rise in the rate of the Covid-19 cases. At a time when people were easing up on the fact that the fear of the pandemic is going to vanish soon, it is the increasing number of positives which have dashed the dreams of the individuals.

Universities and college campuses are places where students live and study in close proximity to each other. An educational institution is a place where students across the state come together to gain knowledge.

However, the boundaries of these institutions are now highly impacted by the rapid spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, creating uncertainty regarding the implications for higher education. 

It has been witnessed that the positivity rate of Coronavirus disease has initially gone uphill since the past few weeks and this has forced many institutions in the city to dismiss their classes for at least for a week. 

While class closures, dips in enrollment at the beginning of a new semester and cancellations may be temporary, it’s hard to foresee whether the novel coronavirus will result in long-term disruption to the higher education system. 

2 subsequent years have passed by since the World Health Organisation declared the COVID-19 pandemic a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. But the question is, are we still prepared for the pandemic?

Despite advances in the vaccination and clinical management of patients with COVID-19, the end of the worst public-health crisis in a century is not nearly in sight yet. 

There’s however, a sigh of relief thinking about the scientific accomplishment but at the same time there’s the realisation that no amount of research and scientific development can compensate for ineffective leadership and a lack of coordination within governments and international cooperation between countries.

Besides, the reopening of the colleges and universities increased the challenges and accompanying risks for transmission on campuses and in their surrounding communities.  

There are still some institutions in the city who are not willing to suspend their classes despite multiple positive cases of the virus being found within the campus.

There is a clear sense that preparing for the next pandemic will require a deep dive into these mistakes which are committed by these bunch of people. 

The world is still pretty much in the midst of a crisis, and it must be taken into account by the authorities of these institutions as we can never afford repeated waves of the Pandemic. Can we? Experience from the recent past has repeatedly given us chapters to learn, but do we want those chapters to repeat?

At a time when we are asked by the Government to stay at home and stay safe, the students are asked by these institutions to attend classes physically and this has in some way or the other exposed us to a host of new viruses for which we hardly have any immunity.

Besides, how virulent it will be; how many people would be killed or infected and whether the Government would succeed in providing the vaccines to all. It must not be ignored that the students are the worst sufferers of this pandemic. 

However,  Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to develop and disseminate data-driven guidance to support these institutions, students, staff, their families, and surrounding communities.

The hike in the rate of COVID-19 cases among college-age individuals underscores the urgent need to implement effective mitigation strategies, including continuing prevention efforts and robust testing paired with rapid isolation and quarantine, to prevent and respond to outbreaks on or near college campuses and protect the broader community.



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