Coronavirus: Indian High School pupils tested after girl contracts Covid-19

Parents anxiously await results of their children's medical check-ups

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES , JULY 4 – 2018 :- Students from grade 3 to 8 taking part in the basketball summer camp held at Indian High School in Garhoud area in Dubai.  ( Pawan Singh / The National )  For News. Story by Anam Rizvi

Dozens of pupils at the country’s largest school were tested for coronavirus on Thursday, a day after authorities said a girl, 16, contracted the virus.

Parents and teachers from Indian High School’s Oud Metha campus said the tests were conducted, as a precautionary measure, on pupils who had been on the same school bus and in the same classroom as the patient.

The authorities have not officially named the school and its headteachers have not commented since the closure this week.

"We have been praying since morning that my daughter would test negative," a mother told The National.

It's just unlucky for the pupil, that family and the school. What can the school do?

Her daughter, 14, was among several pupils who underwent a swab test in a Dubai clinic early on Thursday.

Parents were told the results would take four hours.

“It’s past that time so we hope it’s all clear. We have all been worried," said the mother, who did not want to be identified.

Vincent Alfonso, father of a boy who attends senior school at IHS, said the school should not be singled out.

“It’s just unlucky for the pupil, that family and the school. What can the school do,” he said.

“I don’t know how much this can be controlled. [Coronavirus] was found some days after the parent returned. How many classes will you check? How will you check where did that bus go?

“I have a friend who is worried about her daughter’s health because this happened in their section. As parents we can just keep a close eye on our children.”

Dubai Health Authority confirmed that screening close contacts of the patient was under way.

In an earlier statement, the authority said the teenager contracted the disease from her parent who had travelled overseas. The parent developed symptoms five days after returning to Dubai.

The girl and her family members are now stable and recovering under quarantine in hospital.

Teachers said intensive sanitisation procedures were carried out across the Oud Metha premises.

Classes were suspended across the Indian High School group of schools from Thursday as a precautionary measure.

Teachers reported to work and exams for grade X and XII were conducted in a building adjoining the block where the teenager attended class.

Parents and teachers had questions whether further protective measures, such as home isolation for two weeks, was required for pupilswho were in close contact with the affected teenager.

“We have concerns and we are confused about whether all the teachers need to also be tested,” said a teacher.

“We are wearing masks and using sanitisers a lot today. We know that the school has been sanitised but we want to be sure that it is safe in the building because we know how fast the virus can spread.”

No official comment was immediately available from the school about the safety measures taken.