Bahrain schools to reopen on Sept 27
Manama, September 14, 2009
All government schools in Bahrain are to reopen for students on September 27, with strict measures in place to combat swine flu, officials said.
Officials from the Education and Health Ministries on Sunday met heads of all government schools to map out the return of around 126,000 students for the new term.
They agreed that there was no need to put back the reopening of the country's 205 government schools any further, but that all would follow strict swine flu checks.
Government schools were originally due to reopen on September 23, immediately after Eid, following an Education Ministry decision earlier to give them a break over Ramadan.
This was then extended to September 27, to build in an incubation buffer against any outbreak of the H1N1.
More than 13,000 school staff members returned to work yesterday. There are 60 private schools operating in Bahrain, many of which had different dates scheduled to start the new term.
Those due to reopen on September 1 were earlier told to postpone the opening by a week to create a similar buffer, with many pupils returning from holidays abroad.
But there was chaos last week when other private schools reopened as per their original schedules last Sunday - only to be urged by the Education Ministry to close again.
They were urged to wait another week, to give them the same buffer as the other schools, amid fears some of their pupils could be coming straight back into class within days of travelling.
All government and private schools have been ordered to ensure that neither staff nor pupils are allowed back onto the premises within seven days of travelling abroad.
Children aged six or under, in kindergartens, nurseries, or mainstream schools, have been ordered by the Education Ministry to stay away until October 4.
Health Ministry primary care and public health assistant under-secretary Dr Mariam Al Jalahma was at yesterday's meeting.
She said government schools were originally scheduled to reopen on September 23, but this was put back 'as a precaution against the H1N1 swine flu virus'.
It was agreed yesterday to stick to the September 27 date, with schools following strict health procedures, she said.
Senior ministry officials briefed the school heads yesterday on the precautions they must take, which include checking the temperatures of all pupils, parents and staff entering school premises for the first week.
Dr Al Hajeri briefed the meeting on a guidebook about dealing with swine flu for the 2009-2010 school year, covering precautionary measures, early detection and co-ordinating with parents among other instructions.
She urged principals to speed up the establishment of work teams to monitor the situation at their respective schools.
Dr Al Hajeri also announced plans to hold a workshop for school councillors to learn about dealing with swine flu and launching campaigns targeting parents.-TradeArabia News Service