Via Arab News: Parents want early closure of schools over MERS fears. Excerpt:
School authorities have come under pressure from parents to hold exams earlier this year in the wake of the rising rate of coronavirus fatalities, which has crossed the 100 mark.
Parents with infection-prone kindergarteners are particularly anxious about the situation.
“Do they want a child first to fall ill with MERS before taking action?” asked Shazad Ahmed, a parent. “Schools are a breeding ground for any type of infection. While it is true that the ministry is working hard to combat the virus and that there have been no cases among students so far, there is no reason why the Education Ministry can’t take preventive measures by closing down schools earlier this year.”
Amina Shareef, another parent, disagreed with the recent decision to allocate quarantine rooms on school premises.
“This will create more panic,” she said. “They are better off scheduling exams earlier and closing down a month early rather than creating more fear among students and parents.”
Teachers should grade students according to their performance throughout the year and in previous exams if they cannot hold exams earlier than scheduled, she suggested.
A schoolteacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Arab News that several parents, especially parents with children in kindergarten, have requested that exams end by May 8.
“We have to keep both our students’ well-being and their academic performance and their parents’ wishes in mind,” said Padma Hariharan, director of the Novel International Group of Institutions.
“We have stepped up efforts to ensure that any student or member of staff who shows signs of illness is immediately sent home and asked to return when they have fully recovered,” she said.
The Education Ministry has put field trips on hold, she said. “We are finding it increasingly difficult to run our schools with the new measures and with pressure mounting from parents to shut down early.”