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COVID-19: Four students at Billabong High test positive

16 January 2021, MVT 15:51
Entrance to Billabong High International School. HEOC announced on January 16, 2021, that four students tested positive for COVID-19.
16 January 2021, MVT 15:51

The Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) on Saturday announced that four children studying at Billabong High International School in capital Male' tested positive for COVID-19.

However, the centre disclosed that the students in question did not attend school during the tracing period, and thus no staff or other students were quarantined.

According to local media reports, the students are all from a single family.

Islanders Education, which operates Billabong High, confirmed in a statement that the four students did not contract the virus from within the school. However, they did not disclose further details on the students including their grades, urging the public against any actions that could degrade the family and to extend them support and care.

The company further assured that virus safety measures were being practised within the school, with students and staff required to wear face masks at all times, maintain physical distancing inside classrooms, and have their temperatures checked and hands sanitised prior to entering the premises. Desks and chairs are also disinfected between sessions, while high contact areas undergo disinfection regularly.

However, Islanders Education noted that the possibility of virus cases being detected from schools would be present as long as community spread existed in Male' City. They asserted that they were prepared to respond to such circumstances.

They also stressed that providing a safe environment for students and staff was a top priority as Islanders Education aimed to continue teaching in schools. However, should there be a case requiring a whole class or more to quarantine, Islanders assured that they would return to online education.

After long periods of closure and online classes, Maldives kicked off its academic year on January 10, 2021. Minister of Education Aishath Ali had urged parents to send their children to school, asserting that the preventive measures in place would prevent outbreaks in schools.

Since the reopening, HEOC confirmed that a teacher at Aminiya School in Male' tested positive for the virus. Although a number of other staff were subsequently quarantined, HEOC noted that they came into contact with the teacher outside of school and thus, no students were expected to be contacts.

At present, Maldives records a total of 14,375 virus cases of which 845 are active cases, in addition to 13,474 recoveries and 49 deaths.

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