As fears of the coronavirus pandemic led the Delhi government on Thursday to order the immediate closure of primary schools in the national capital till March 31, some school principals in Mumbai said they have been asked by parents to “take action”.
Nitin Padte, director of Mainadevi Bajaj International School in Mumbai, said he received a letter from a parent on Thursday requesting that the pre-primary section of the school be closed down. “It is likely that we may have to take action in the coming days. If there are positive cases in Delhi, it is impossible to imagine that Mumbai will be unaffected. While we are watching the situation, there is a sense of pre-panic. We have sent notices to parents asking them not to send children to school if they have cold and cough,” said Padte.
Meanwhile, the BMC education department on Thursday issued an advisory to all schools along with informative posters to be stuck in each school to sensitise students about precautionary measures.
The “convocation” or graduation ceremony of kindergarten students in Podar Jumbo Kids Plus, Santacruz, was cancelled by the school authorities. “We have also cancelled our field trips and all events where parents are required to visit school. We are monitoring people who are coming to the school. In a situation where cases of those affected by the virus increase, educational institutes need to be the first to be shut,” said Swati Popat Vats, president of Podar Education Network and Early Childhood Association.
Most principals, however, said they will wait until the state department issues a directive. When contacted, an official from the school education department said that no decision on these lines had been taken so far.
Over the past fortnight, all the teachers and students of Jamnabai Narsee School, Vile Parle, have been screened for symptoms every morning. Those students who have cough or cold have been given medical exemption from appearing for exams, said principal Zeenat Bhojabhoy. “We have a well equipped health care unit and we are very strict. Those who have been ill have been asked to get a fitness certificate in order to resume,” she said.
“Right now there doesn’t seem to be a scene where we need to shut down the school. We have conducted counselling sessions and have been regularly sanitising our classrooms and washrooms. In case an emergency is declared, we will have to shut our school,” said Kavita Aggarwal, principal of DG Khetan International School.
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