Following the closure of schools due to coronavirus outbreak in the country and abroad, the school teachers in Hailakandi district of Assam are on a different role altogether – creating awareness about the disease among the local people outside the confines of the classrooms.
School teachers of the district have fanned out to areas in and around their vicinity to augment the efforts of the district administration to contain the spread of the disease.
In one such programme at Narayanpur which falls under Wards 5 and 10 of Hailakandi Municipal Board, teachers of 99 Narayanpur LP School along with education officers have come up with a method to create awareness about coronavirus and remove misconceptions about it by preparing a list of do’s and don’ts.
The school has started giving lessons to the villagers in which they are given information about the virus and the precautionary measures to be adopted to avoid getting infected.
The list asks people not to shake hands or hug each other. It also tells them to maintain social distancing and to wash their hands with either soap or hand sanitizer frequently.
Narayanpur LP School Head Teacher, Tapash Kumar Das said, “As a measure against coronavirus, we have taken a small step to spread awareness among the villagers about the virus. This has helped to allay fears with regards to coronavirus. At a time when the outbreak of the fatal virus has claimed so many lives and infected many, it is time to take a stand against this new strain.”
Sampa Dey, Assistant teacher in the school, said, “We are informing the local people about the symptoms of the coronavirus and how to avoid the infection by listing what is to be done and what not to.”
“The people are also asked to wash their hands frequently and to report to the nearest health centre or police station if they feel unwell. They are also told to maintain high standards of hygiene at home,” added Dey.
The teachers said that since there is a heavy inflow of people from coronavirus infected states to Hailakandi posing an imminent threat, it was necessary for the local people to be aware of the outbreak and take steps needed to save themselves from it.
Block Elementary Education Officer, Hailakandi, Rajesh Chakravarty said the education department in collaboration with the health department is reaching out to the people in towns and villages across the district to create awareness on the novel Coronavirus.
“In Hailakandi block alone, teachers of 519 numbers of LP and ME schools are organising a series of awareness programmes to sensitise the people on the mode of transmission and the safeguards to be employed to contain the spread of the disease,” he said.
Cluster Resource Centre Coordinator, Barid Kanti Paul said in the awareness meetings apart from shedding light on novel Coronavirus infection, its incubation period, thrust is also given on staying in isolation avoiding large gatherings and other precautions to be adopted.
Block Accountant, Shankar Choudhury, who addressed the villagers, said the awareness programmes underscored the importance of adopting standard procedures to minimise the risk of infection like covering the mouth and nose while sneezing and washing hands and maintaining a distance of one metre.
“Awareness programmes by teachers and education officers have helped to dispel the doubts of the people. The outbreak has given a good enough reason to instil personal hygiene in people,” Choudhury said.
“There is no antiviral treatment specifically for the disease, but experts say there are precautionary steps everyone can and should be taking to avoid coming down with COVID-19,” Choudhury said.
Handwashing strategies that included washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol, if soap and water are not available, were demonstrated to the people.
Local resident, Amir Hussain, a mason, said, “The awareness program has given a lot of information on Coronavirus and how to prevent the spread of the virus.”
Another resident, Abdul Latif, a vendor, said, “The information on proper handwashing technique and tips will help in developing good handwashing habits and keep us protected from Coronavirus and other germs.”