Via Arab News: Wary of MERS spread, parents raise a stink over dirty school toilets. I doubt that MERS is a hazard in schools (unless the kids are sharing the toilets with camels), but immaculate school hygiene and sanitation should go without saying in any self-respecting country. And with health officials already on the defensive about MERS, the parents are smart to push on health-related education issues.
A number of parents have complained about the lack of hygiene in schools, expressing fears about the potential spread of the MERS virus with the beginning of the new academic year. This comes in the backdrop of another death due to the deadly virus, bringing the death toll to 503 until Saturday evening.
One parent, Saad Al-Murshidi, said he was surprised when he entered a school in eastern Riyadh and discovered terribly poor hygiene in the school, as well as the lack of water coolers for students, a local publication reported.
He demanded that those responsible for that in the Riyadh Education Department be held accountable, noting that because of the absence of cleaners in the region’s schools, students use dirty toilets.
Nouf Al-Assai, a teacher at Granada Primary School, said she works with around 1,130 female students and that dirty toilets might cause a spread of diseases.
She expressed surprise at the statements of some education officials in Riyadh who confirmed the readiness of schools. “A number of schools were shocked because the department did not move a finger to address several issues the schools suffer from.”
She also said many parents refused to send their daughters to the schools because they lacked hygiene and ACs were not functioning.
Another teacher, Ayed Mohammad, said the majority of schools in Riyadh are not ready to receive children.
“The schools here recruit cleaning workers from outside the school, in stark violation to the rule of the Interior Ministry which prohibits the employment of illegal workers”.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, has begun to hold educational programs for worshippers about the MERS.
Abdulaziz bin Saeed, the Ministry of Health undersecretary, said the ministry is cooperating with all private and government bodies to educate people about the coronavirus, adding that imams have a major role to play in this matter.