Principals say they are spreading awareness, maintaining hygiene, emphasising importance of vaccines
The measles awareness poster created by the Podar Jumbo Kids pre-school chain
As measles cases increase in the city, private schools have started issuing advisories and sharing informative posters in order to caution parents and school teachers. As of Tuesday, 308 measles cases and 15 confirmed deaths from the contagious disease, including three in Mumbai, have been witnessed across the state. This has prompted the city schools to highlight the importance of the measles and rubella vaccines.
Swati Popat Vats, director of the pre-school chain Podar Jumbo Kids and president of the Early Childhood Association (ECA), told mid-day, “We have shared an informative poster with students and made the teachers aware that children—especially the unvaccinated ones—are getting measles now. So teachers should very gently remind parents about the vaccination of their children if they have missed their vaccination for measles and keep a watch for signs and monitor the children in class. Thirdly, anything that is commonly used in class is sanitised regularly. We have even asked parents to monitor their children at home if they have a runny nose, continuous cough and other symptoms. We are trying to make most people, especially parents and caregivers, aware of the measles outbreak, which is not to be taken lightly.”
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She added that all school authorities need to know that the cases are on the rise, and should alert parents and remind them about the measles vaccine. Madhu Wadke, principal of Gopi Birla Memorial School in Malabar Hill, said, “A circular has been shared with parents advising them to check the immunisation record of their ward and take action in case a vaccine dose has been missed. It also mentions the symptoms and common strategies to prevent the spread of the disease. Parents have been advised not to send their children to school if they are unwell.”
Schools have also requested that students or employees who have a fever or sore eyes and sore throat stay at home until they are fully recovered. Seema Kshatriya, principal of Chembur’s Kanakia International School, said, “We have not faced any such cases. The school takes utmost care to maintain proper hygiene on its premises, all surfaces are sanitised at least thrice a day.”
Kshatriya added that teachers regularly talk to students about washing their hands and covering their mouths while sneezing or coughing and request students to avoid contact with anyone who might be sick. “At the same time, parents are also informed to prevent sending their wards to school if found unwell, and students showing the slightest symptoms are sent back home. A properly balanced diet is offered by the school as immunity is of utmost importance,” she added.
Major Girish Kumar, chief safety and security officer, Pre-K Division, Lighthouse Learning—which runs the pre-school chain EuroKids— said, “In light of the measles outbreak in Maharashtra, EuroKids has issued an advisory for parents with important recommendations.”
He added, “We have advised parents to avoid sending their children to school if they have symptoms such as coughing, runny nose, high fever, rashes and inflamed eyes. Our pre-schools follow all safety measures, including regular sanitisation and daily health screening at the arrival point. To protect the children from contagious viral infections, we have arranged an isolation room in case any child develops symptoms during school hours. We also advise parents about timely immunisation i.e. MMR vaccine for all children, which protects them against measles, mumps and rubella. The quarantine period for measles lasts between seven days and 21 days. Coughing etiquette and hand hygiene are being maintained in our pre-schools.”