APROPOS the news ‘Covid-19 and children’ (May 19). The report serves as a moot point whether children of school age are infected with coronavirus. The report is based on global data.

Prime Minister Imran Khan in his maiden speech after taking his oath lamented the fact that the majority of Pakistani children suffered from stunted growth and malnutrition. These are the primary factors that lead to low or poor immunity in children.

Being a teacher, my experience and observations are of the view that children are more likely to be infected with this virus. I have seen that children easily catch a common cold or flu from each other either because they can’t help being close to each other for learning purposes or owing to lack of infrastructure. A common skin infection spreads like a wild fire in a classroom.

Whether it is a public or a private school, in most of cases two to four students are seated on a single desk. Furthermore, hygiene has never been a priority at government schools or even private schools not catering to the elite. The state of washrooms, in government-run schools, is often pathetic.

At public schools where the awareness level of parents and children is low, no precautions are likely to be taken to safeguard children against the pandemic. Parents and even children of public schools do menial jobs; children mostly part-time jobs to brave the financial constraints. So, they can be easy carriers and vectors of pathogens.

Opening the schools must be given serious thought and planning, lest the conditions hitherto held in check, should go out of control.

M. Nadeem Nadir

Kasur

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2020

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