Karnataka cautious on opening schools, B’luru on watch

Karnataka to open schools for classes 9 to 12 in districts where positivity rate is less than 2%: CM Basavaraj Bommai

The positivity rate is more than 2% in five districts

Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai. Credit: PTI Photo

Karnataka on Saturday chose to remain cautious by deciding not to reopen schools in districts where the Covid-19 positivity rate is over 2%.

Bengaluru will be kept on a leash. The city will face stringent curbs if and when the positivity rate touches 2%. It is currently 0.66%.

This was discussed in a meeting Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai chaired with experts and officials to chart out the next steps to deal with the pandemic, especially in Bengaluru and districts bordering Kerala and Maharashtra.

The positivity rate is more than 2% in five districts - Dakshina Kannada (3.98%), Chikmagalur (3.24%), Kodagu (2.71%), Udupi (2.42%) and Hassan (2.23%), according to the government.

The government had plans to reopen Classes 9-12 from August 23. “In the districts where the positivity rate is more than 2 per cent, the schools will not reopen for now,” Bommai said.

Schools that are set to reopen will have to see that parents, teachers and non-teaching staff are vaccinated. “In case a particular district sees an increase in positivity rate beyond 2% after the schools reopen, the schools will have to shut for one week and be sanitised,” Bommai said.

The government will ramp up testing and vaccination in districts bordering Kerala and Maharashtra. Specifically, the government will prioritize vaccination in villages situated in a 10 km radius from the Kerala and Maharashtra border.

Bommai said the government's focus was to ensure that the second wave of Covid-19 was completely gone. "Experts have said the second wave hasn’t gone still. We’re still in the second wave. There are still about 1,800 cases being reported daily, unlike the first wave where we saw only 200-300 cases towards the end," Bommai explained.

Since the cases vary in each district, there will henceforth be ‘no one rule that fits all’ for the entire state, Bommai said. “The state government will come up with a district-wise plan to curb cases,” he said.

The government will regulate all border districts where the positivity rate is high. These include Mysuru, Hassan, Chikmagalur, Udupi, Bengaluru Rural, Shivamogga, Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu and Chamarajanagar. Testing and vaccination will be increased in these districts.

In Bengaluru, Bommai said the BBMP chief commissioner was authorized to impose additional measures if the positivity rate touched 2% and 40% of oxygenated beds get occupied.