Mumbai: Private schools have started sending notices to parents, asking them to take precautionary measures to protect their children from coronavirus. Parents are being asked to keep children home if the latter have cough, fever or fatigue. The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), in turn, has appealed to schools to initiate safety measures to create a healthy environment for students.

The Sandipani Preschool and Learning Centre, Dahisar east, sent notices to parents on Monday stating, “We request parents not to send their children to school if any of the following symptoms are seen in the child or any adult of the family: Prolonged coughing, cold or runny nose, sore throat, fever and difficulty in breathing. Parents should visit the doctor immediately in the above conditions.”

Another private school in South Bombay, which did not wish to be named, has requested parents to seek immediate medical help if their children have cough or fever. The principal of the school said, “The health ministry has directed to avoid public gatherings and crowded places as COVID-19 is contagious. The health of our students, teachers and non-teaching staff is our priority. We request parents to treat their children at home if they have a cough or fever until they get better.”

On the other hand, members of the PTA have demanded that schools take essential measures to maintain health and hygiene. Arundhati Chavan, president of the PTA United Forum, said, “Schools should take precautionary measures like installing hand sanitisers in all washrooms, cleaning the bathrooms regularly and allowing students to take washroom breaks whenever required. Teachers should tell students to wash their hands at regular intervals so that they maintain basic hygiene.”

Parents are irked with these notices and worried about the absenteeism of their children, as it is final examination time. Meera Lalwani, a parent, said, “It is a crucial time, as final semester examinations are scheduled to begin in mid-March. How will our children appear for exams if they miss school?” While Hiten Bopal, another parent said, “Instead of notices, the school should initiate measures like allowing students who have fever or cough to appear for exams later.”

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