Delhi, May 31 (KMS): At least 100 teachers and principals of Delhi government schools have died of Covid-19 since last March, when the pandemic first hit the Capital, officials of the directorate of education (DoE) said, after compiling a Covid-19 deaths report covering its 1,030 schools. The report, the officials said, was for the consideration of the government to facilitate ex gratia payments and compassionate appointments to family members of the deceased persons.
Ramchandra Singhare, additional district deputy education officer and nodal officer for compensation to teachers who died of Covid-19, said, ‘We have received reports related to around 100 cases from across Delhi government schools as of now. Of these, 92 have been confirmed (as Covid deaths), while the rest are awaiting confirmation as they are very recent deaths. There are around 10 cases of Covid deaths among our non-teaching staff and we are examining these cases as well for payment of ex gratia and compassionate appointments.’
As of Sunday, 24,151 people in the city have died of Covid-19.
The Delhi cabinet on May 13 approved a proposal to provide compensation to families of employees who die of Covid-19 while still in service.
Even as schools were immediately closed when the pandemic hit the national capital last March, teachers remained deployed on Covid-related duties such as door-to-door surveys, ration distribution, registering migrant workers, issuing fines, vaccinations, and identification of travellers from abroad at the airport, among others.
June’s Covid vaccine quota to be 120 million after 79 million in May
Teachers also started attending schools after campuses reopened between January and February this year for students of classes 9 to 12. The schools again shut in April, when the fourth and the most deadliest wave of the pandemic struck the national Capital.
Many among those who died in the month of April and the three weeks of May so far were also engaged in Covid duties when they contracted the infection, say their family members.
Krishan Kant Kapil, 52, a math teacher at the government boys’ senior secondary school in Rithala, was one of such teacher. His son Arpit Kapil said, ‘My father was engaged in dry ration distribution duty among students of his school till April 24. After that, he developed Covid symptoms. Initially, we were trying to treat him at home but his condition worsened and he was shifted to a private hospital on May 11. He died on May 22.’
Kapil said his father’s colleagues asked him to send an application to the government seeking compensation for his father’s death.
Family members of several other teachers who died of Covid-19 said they, too, have submitted all documents with the respective schools for compensation.
Arvind Kumar Sharma, 59, principal of a government school in Ghazipur, had succumbed to the virus on April 30. He is survived by his wife and two daughters. His daughter Sambhavi Sharma said, ‘My elder sister is married and now my mother and I have no one to fend for us — my father was the sole breadwinner. I was preparing for competitive exams and he was guiding me. I do not know what we will do now.’
Her elder sister Vallari Sharma said the school has asked them to submit a death certificate and other documents for claiming a compensation. ‘We are waiting for the death certificate to be issued after submitting the hospital records. No amount of money can compensate our loss, but it will provide some financial security to my mother and sister,’ she said.
The government schools teachers’ association said the number of teachers who died of Covid may be higher than 100.
Ajay Veer Singh, general secretary of the association, said, ‘There are so many cases of deaths among teachers. A colleague of mine had recently succumbed to Covid, a week after her mother-in-law died of the virus. Her husband is still hospitalised and her son is in class 10. We do not know if the department would include her case in the compensation list since she caught the virus at home. The government should also consider all such cases while handing out compensation and making compassionate appointments.’