Alerted by the coronavirus case reported in Delhi-NCR, schools in the region have sent out advisories to parents suggesting that they not send their wards to attend classes even in case of mild cough or cold and saying they may declare holidays if the need arises. Two private schools in Noida cancelled classes on Tuesday for the next few days as a precautionary measure after a student's father tested positive for coronavirus.
"Please ensure you absolutely do not send your child to school even in case of a mild cough, sneezing or cold. We are ensuring that staff would make children periodically wash their hands after every half an hour. Please ensure you do the same for yourself, your domestic staff and children at home," said Monica Sagar, Principal, Shiv Nadar School, Gurugram, in a note sent to parents.
"Older children could carry personal sanitisers too. We do not advocate the use of sanitisers for very young children for their strong alcoholic content in case the children keep putting their fingers in their mouths. A herbal one might be better, but less effective," she added.
Another school in Dwarka sent an advisory to parents saying, "Please do not make the children wear masks if they are well as it causes more bacteria to be trapped near the mouth area and chances of infection because they tend to touch it often. If they have a cold, it is recommended they wear a mask and stay at home".
Schools are also organising sensitisation sessions for children to brief them about the symptoms of COVID-19 as well as precautionary measures.
"For now we are organising sensitisation sessions for children. We might declare holiday if need arises," said the principal of a school in Mayur Vihar, who did not wish to be identified.
The two Noida schools also announced their closure in messages sent to the parents, a day after the Union Health Ministry reported two fresh cases of coronavirus in the country -- one of them in Delhi.
One of the schools, where the infected Delhi man's son is a primary class student, said it will remain shut from March 4 to March 6.
The parent had thrown a birthday party last week for the child, triggering fears that the students who attended it might be at risk.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday called an urgent meeting with Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain and other top officials on the government's preparations to deal with coronavirus.
"COVID-19 is a new infection, but there is no need to panic. We are taking all possible steps to keep Delhi safe. Isolation wards being readied in 25 hospitals, including 19 government and six private hospitals. As many as 3.5-lakh N95 masks are being arranged, we have over 8,000 separation kits for staff treating coronavirus patients," Jain said at a press conference.