Classes were empty as schools re-opened this Sunday after the mid-term break which coincided after the State declared all schools be closed in an effort to contain the H1N1 influenza outbreak in the country.
Very few students attended pre-schools in Male’ City with one pre-school reporting only one attendee.
“We run two schools and only one student attended from each school. We didn’t teach any classes,” said an official from Dhondhooni Little Learners Preschool.
Some of the pre-schools had already announced it will remain closed this week, but re-opened after Ministry of Education explicitly instructed each school to re-open.
Large public schools in the city like Jamaluddin School reported only about five or 10 students from 30-student classes attended the schools.
Majeedhiyya School – one of the city’s oldest schools – had to combine five classes in one grade to take lessons. While each of the classes have approximately 30 students each, only about a total of 20 students attended school from the grade this Sunday.
“There were very students so the teachers couldn’t teach lessons. But they will give instructions,” said a teacher from Majeedhiyya School.
The number of students sent to schools in the atolls were also low.
“Sun” has received reports more than 100 students from H. A. Atoll Madharusa did not attend classes.
Many of the parents have expressed discontent over the decision to re-open school, with some reporting that medical doctors have informed them it wasn’t yet safe to send children to schools.
Chief Medical Officer of ADK Hospital, pediatrician Dr. Abdulla Niyaf – who is also a member of the taskforce set up by health experts to deal with the influenza outbreak – when asked whether it was safe to re-open schools cryptically tweeted the song “Please Don’t Go” which many interpreted as a plea not to send children to schools.
Ministry of Education’s decision to re-open schools is controversial. But the State reports that it was now safe to re-open the schools passed on analysis of the rate at which the flu spread over the past 10 days and the current state of the community.
501 people have been tested for the H1N1 virus, out of whom 185 people tested positive.
There are currently 31 H1N1-positive patients admitted to hospitals for treatment.