Group of experts launch online campaign to reopen schools for children

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A group of teachers, educationists, epidemiologists and doctors have started a campaign titled ‘Chain-for-Children’s Cheer’ through a website for immediate resumption of all schools and related activities for children in order to stop harming their future and mental health in the upcoming year.

The campaign aims to create a consensus among the public, mostly parents, on Covid-19 restrictions being “hugely harmful” for their children. An excerpt from their statement reads, “The risk of Covid-19 among children is miniscule, far lesser than other risks we accept as a normal part of life. Thus, the disruptions to children’s lives are of no benefit to them and are hugely harmful. Each of us adults have enjoyed a normal childhood of learning, play, socialisation, arts and music and sports. Each child today deserves the same.”

Apart from immediate resumption of schools, the group also wants no disruptive social distancing, no emergency-use jabs and no asymptomatic Covid testing for kids.

Bhaskaran Raman, Professor, Dept of CSE, IIT Bombay said, “In my opinion, it’s high time children get their life back. For children, the risk of Covid-19 is far smaller than other diseases or an accident. But due to restrictions for 21 months, the mental health issues are becoming a major concern today. We are pushing them to the extremes with these restrictions. So, we are saying that children should be allowed to have a normal life. As on December 31, 220 people have supported us on our website where we have given scientific material to educate people on the issue.”

The top signatories in the campaign include eminent epidemiologists such as Dr Amitav Banerjee (Head, Department of Community Medicine, Dr D Y Patil Medical College, Pune), Dr Jayaprakash Muliyil (Chairman Scientific Advisory Committee of National Institute of Epidemiology) and Dr Arvind Singh Kushwaha (Department of Community Medicine, AIIMS, Nagpur). The campaign will end on January 26.

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