Education Ministry officials said on Thursday that around 80 per cent teachers and non-teaching staff employed in schools across the country have received at least the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The reports could bring relief to parents and students with schools reopening in several states across the country.
"Among the variety of factors that will contribute to the reopening of schools across the county, vaccination of teachers will have a big contribution. The ministry is rigorously following up with the state governments.
"The initial feedback from the states and UTs is very positive and we have seen in most of the states almost 80 per cent and more teaching and non-teaching staff have received either one or both the doses of COVID-19 vaccines," a senior ministry official said.
The Ministry of Education (MoE) on Tuesday asked all the states and Union Territories to get the first dose of vaccination completed for all teaching and non-teaching staff during September.
The states have also been asked to update data about the vaccination of teachers twice a week on a Google tracker.
When asked if the government will soon allow states to reopen schools for all classes, the official said, "There are many variables, including the extent of positivity rate, hospitalisation and the extent of vaccination, that will determine the complete or graded reopening of schools."
High rate of vaccination coverage will definitely provide a certain level of assurance but there are other factors that also have to be considered, the official said, adding that the states will have to consider those factors and take a call on the matter.
"The vaccination drive has been undertaken to vaccinate more than 2 crore teachers and the vaccination progress in the states is being monitored by the Department of School Education and Literacy. This will also contribute to decisions pertaining to school reopening," the official said.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had on last Wednesday said more than two crore additional COVID-19 vaccine doses are being made available to states this month, and they have been asked to vaccinate all school teachers on priority before Teachers' Day on September 5.
Schools across the country were closed in March last year ahead of a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of novel coronavirus infection.
The Centre had allowed reopening of schools as per the COVID-19 situation in October last year. While several states began partial reopening of schools, there was a complete closure again in April when an aggressive second wave hit the country.
With the improvement in the COVID-19 situation, several states have begun reopening schools now even as concerns have been expressed over the staff and teachers not being completely vaccinated.