Male’, Maldives – 4 student studying at Billabong High Internation School in Male’ have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement by the Health Emergency Operations Centre (HEOC) earlier today.
HEOC added that no staff or other students from the school were quarantined as the positive students, who are reportedly all form a single family, did not attend school during the tracing period.
Parent Company of Billabong High, Islanders Education (IE) has said in a statement that the four students did not contract the virus from within the school.
The company noted that Covid safety measures were set in the school, with students and staff mandated to wear face masks at all times, maintain social distancing when in class, and have their temperatures checked in addition to having their hands sanitized prior to entering the institute.
Desks and chairs are also disinfected between sessions, while high contact areas undergo disinfection regularly.
The possibility of virus cases being detected from schools would be present as long as community spread existed in Male’ City, noted AI. They assured that they were prepared to respond to such circumstances, adding that should there be a case requiring a whole class or more to quarantine, they would return to online classes.
After long periods of closure and online classes, Maldives kicked off its academic year on January 10, 2021.
While schools outside of Male’ did keep somewhat regular scheduled classes, Schools in the capital opened briefly but quickly shut down again after a surge in cases, with students going back to online learning.
Due to the closure of schools, classes could not be kept regularly nor were syllabuses completed. This is why, the government decided to bring significant changes to the academic calendar by announcing that the new academic year will start on August 10 rather than in January.
On January 10th this year, all Maldivian students will be attending the second term of their academic year, with Minister of Education Aishath Ali urging parents to send their children to school, asserting that the preventive measures in place would prevent outbreaks in schools.
While there has been a small increase in cases observed in the capital, along with a teacher in Aminiya School testing positive, no significant outbreaks have occurred at a school.