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Cold weather conditions, seasonal influenza take toll on primary level student attendance in Kashmir schools

 Cold weather conditions, seasonal influenza take toll on primary level student attendance in Kashmir schools

Receiving seasonal flu cases of 150 minors on daily basis at SKIMS, Soura: Medico

Riyaz Bhat

Srinagar, Nov 09 (KNO): With the ongoing ‘Seasonal Influenza’ and lack of heating arrangements, many schools in winter zones of Kashmir region are witnessing thin attendance of students.

The news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) spoke to several teachers to understand the reasons for thin attendance and its solution subsequently. One of the teachers, Adil Ahmad (Name Changed) said that almost half of the students especially enrolled in lower classes of the school have been complaining of cold weather inside the classrooms.

“Days after their complaints of cold weather and lack of heating arrangements, they informed the school authorities that they felt ill with mild to severe chest congestion and fever,” he said. The school teacher further said that besides cold weather situations, seasonal influenza have also been observed in many students. “Unfortunately, the students have not been provided with any sort of heating arrangements. I think if such facilities were in place, there would be less chances of getting ill,” the teacher said.

Another teacher (Name Withheld) said, “From the first week of November, schools in our and adjacent communities have been witnessing a very thin attendance.” “It seems like only 50-60 percent of students are attending the classes and among those who are attending the classes, many students are not even regular,” he said. The teacher also said that some of the parents of such wards had informed that their wards had a severe chest congestion.

“It is not only students who have fallen prey to seasonal influenza and cold weather atmosphere in classrooms, but many teachers have fallen ill too and they are on leave,” he said adding, “For past more than a week, there is a very thin attendance of students.” The teacher said, “The parents prefer to keep their wards back at home to evade the cold weather conditions and avoid catching the flu.”

In the meantime, one of the paediatricians at SKIMS-Soura requesting anonymity said, “Nowadays, we are receiving seasonal flu cases of 150 minors on a daily basis.”

Asked if the cold weather conditions in classrooms can affect the students or teachers, the doctor said, “Cold weather conditions in classrooms can cause chest congestion and fever among the minor students because their immune system is very weak in comparison to the adults and upper age students.” “However, it can’t be ruled out that only cold weather conditions in classrooms can be the only reason for getting sick, seasonal influenza also plays a role,” he said.

As already reported by KNO, in absence of heating arrangements in government-run-schools, most of the teachers take students outside the classroom to teach them under sunlight. Several teachers of government schools had opined that the authorities shall provide heating arrangements from the first week of November only for the elementary level (Primary and Upper Primary) students. Principal Secretary, School Education Department, Alok Kumar had already informed KNO that the department was aware of the matter and was looking into it. “We will take a call soon on this issue.” On asking whether there was a possibility of providing heating arrangements for primary level students, Kumar has said, “We have a huge number of schools and we don’t have that much of facilities available to provide prior winter vacations.” He had also said, “We will see how we can manage to overcome the issue. If there will be extreme or more cold conditions, we will think of closing some schools for winter vacations.”—(KNO)

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