(MENAFN - Arab News) The education ministry has authorized principals to cancel morning assembly at schools to help counter the spread of the deadly middle east respiratory syndrome (mers) coronavirus.
mubarak al-usaimi spokesman of the ministry said principals could also cancel other large gatherings of students inside their schools at any time.
several schools for girls in jeddah have started taking precautions to prevent the virus from spreading.
kawthar the female principal of an elementary school said she received instructions to reduce crowding of students especially during breaks. she has canceled the morning assembly.
'administrators and teachers at the school do not use masks to avoid scaring the girls. but each class supervisor has a carton of masks for the protection of little girls inside classrooms" she said.
one teacher said that the school administration has ordered teachers to educate students on hygiene including putting on masks and replacing them every three hours and staying away from crowded areas.
parents have expressed concern about the mers outbreak in jeddah with some keeping their children at home.
'i didn't send my little girl to school because i am afraid she'll contract the virus" said muhrah al-zahrani the mother of a student. 'i've heard that the dusty atmosphere is contagious."
sameha arab another mother said she bought sterilizing liquids for her daughter and put them in her school bag.
several other mothers said they hoped the education department would suspend classes until the government could eliminate the mers threat.
two students aziza diab and nahla al-ghamdi said their mothers are being more cautious than usual and placed masks and sterilizing liquids in their bags. they said they were initially annoyed about it but now use the masks and stay away from crowded places.
abdullah al-thaqafi director general of education in jeddah said he was satisfied with the health situation at schools in the city.
'i want to personally praise parents for their high level of awareness and students for their discipline regarding this issue" al-thaqafi said.
he made the comments after inspecting several schools with fellow education officials.
al-thaqafi toured the prince sultan educational complex accompanied by abdulrahman al-asmari the head of the school administration and said al-suhafi the complex manager.
al-thaqafi also checked the study halls and cafeteria where he was told the meals are in line with the department's price quality and health standards.
the group also visited the medical clinic where first aid is available for the 3000 students.