By Sampada A. Khatiwada Kathmandu, Apr. 17: The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has said that the COVID-19 infection and fatality rate have been increasing especially in children and youths lately. Warning that the upcoming days could be challenging if the virus continued to spread at the same pace, the Health Ministry said, “All places having a maximum flow of people including schools must make sure that the health and safety protocols are followed strictly.” As schools are currently becoming the hotspot of the virus, teachers at various educational institutions have been voicing concerns that the government must prioritise providing vaccines to teachers in order to curb the spread of the pandemic. “Schools have a large number of students of all age groups where following health safety measures are not as effective. Currently, we are running the classes in physical presence by keeping the health of students and teachers at stake,” said Saroj Upreti, coordinator at National Model School in Samakhusi. “It would be a great relief if the government shoulders the responsibility of preventing the spread of virus either by conducting vaccination campaign for all the teachers or by any other means,” added Upreti. “As it has just been around three months since schools reopened physical classes, shutting the school again would have a detrimental impact on the entire education fraternity of the nation. Thus, the government must consider alternatives to closing educational institutions to curb the spread of the virus.” Chairman of Nepal Teachers Association Rajendra Raj Poudel, said, “School connects houses and families of the students, teachers and staffers to each another. If one student contracts the virus, then s/he might transmit it to hundreds of students and their families back home.” “If the government doesn’t take measures immediately to stop the spread, then all households nationwide might catch the novel coronavirus,” said Paudel, adding that the safety of students and teachers should be the government’s topmost priority at the moment. “Hence, the government must introduce vaccination campaign for the teachers immediately. The entire nation will be safe from the virus only if the schools are safe,” he added, warning that the association would have to start protesting on the roads if the government didn’t address the need of ensuring a safe environment for teaching and learning for teachers and students alike. Meanwhile, Manju Shrestha, vice president of Nepal Teacher's Organisation, Bagmati Province, said that Kathmandu Metropolitan City had provided vaccines against COVID-19 to some teachers on April 10. "However, this is not enough. As schools are becoming the hub of COVID-19, it is vital to vaccinate all the school staffs across the nation so that the students would also be safe," she added. The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology had written a letter to the ministry in February urging to inoculate the staffers at educational institutions including schools, colleges, and universities after various organisations like N-PABSON and National Teachers Federation requested the Education Ministry to prioritise inoculation to educators. Moreover, Dr. Shyam Raj Upreti, coordinator of the COVID-19 vaccine advisory committee, told The Rising Nepal that the committee had no plan to vaccinate academicians for now.