Kelzang Wangchuk | Samdrupjongkhar

Samdrupjongkhar dzongkhag Covid-19 task force relaxed the self-containment mode restrictions placed on Samdrupjongkhar MSS on November 9.

Students and teachers could move freely from home to school starting tomorrow.

But students and teachers should implement stringent health protocols at the school entrance, classrooms and school premises.

The move came in response to the dzongkhag task force’s letter to the national Covid-19 task force’s (NC19TF) on October 30.

The Covid-19 positive cases were identified among the three individuals from two different clusters with the low epidemiological link and declared Samdrupjongkhar thromde red zone until October 4.

Samdrupjongkhar thromde shares a porous border with the Indian state of Assam with the extensive exchange of essential goods, entry of a large number of vehicles and people daily, which exacerbates the risk of Covid-19 importation.

The dzongkhag Covid-19 task force decided to place SJMSS in self-containment mode apart from the change in quarantine policies and surveillance being revamped.

The dzongkhag taskforce’s letter to the national task force stated that students have been reporting to their parents about the stress because of the self-containment.

“Teachers also expressed their issues with their spouses, and some female teachers have to breastfeed their children at homes,” the letter stated.

Since the Covid-19 situation improved and the multiple challenges faced by both the students and teachers, the task force during its 34th meeting decided to write to the NC19TF for the self-containment relaxation of SJMSS.

There were no new positive cases within 43 days of the last index case, and people in Samdrupjongkhar are allowed to move within the dzongkhag as it was declared a high-risk area on October 5.

The national Covid-19 task force wrote to the dzongkhag task force that the school would have to revert to the self-containment mode should there be Covid-19 cases.

The thromde education officer, Dorji Gyalpo, said Dungsam Academy would maintain the same mode as there are students from the thromde studying there.

“Thirty-three students from the thromde won’t be able to go to school should there be a positive case or if the situation worsens,” he said, adding that the bus will pick and drop the 72 students from Dewathang.

“The parents should guide their children at homes and make them study while the teachers would also monitor them,” Dorji Gyalpo said.