Amaravati: As many as 262 students and about 160 teachers tested positive in Andhra Pradesh during the past three days after schools were reopened on November 2 for classes IX and X, a senior official of the school education said on Thursday.

Commissioner of School Education V Chinna Veerabhadrudu said the figure is not alarming when compared to the number of students attending the schools, though every care is being taken to ensure COVID-19 safety protocols are in place in every institution.

"Yesterday (November 4) around four lakh students attended schools. There were 262 positive cases. It is not even 0.1%. It is not correct to say that they were affected due to their attendance to schools. We ensure that each school room has only 15 or 16 students," the official told PTI, adding "it is not alarming.”

As per the statistics provided by the department, there are 9.75 lakh students registered for Class 9 and 10 in the state out of which 3.93 lakh attended, out of 1.11 lakh teachers, over 99,000 thousand attended the educational institutions on Wednesday.

Out of 1.11 lakh teachers, about 160 teachers tested positive, he added. "Lives of both students and teachers are important for us," he said.

According to him, the attendance of students to schools was hovering about 40 per cent as parents are still apprehensive of the killer virus despite tight measures being taken by the government.

Veerabhadrudu said poor students who could not afford online classes are the most affected ones if the schools were not open and it is quandary for girl students in tribal and rural areas as parents may indulge in child marriages if the teenagers stop going to schools.

All government schools and colleges reopened from November 2 for classes 9, 10 and intermediate. Classes 9 and 10 and Intermediate first and second year would function on alternate days only for half-a-day. Classes 6, 7 and 8 would begin on November 23 while classes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 would start from December 14, an official statement said earlier.

All the educational institutions have remained closed since March when the national lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 was announced.

(With inputs from agency)