Parents in eastern Jerusalem fear that Coronavirus has arrived in the city after a group of 14 girls returned from a trip in northern Italy and did not stay in quarantine.
Corona has spread rapidly in northern Italy with hundreds of cases recorded and several deaths caused by the epidemic.
Parents of students at the Rosary Sisters School have complained that the management is ignoring the possibility that some of the students may have been infected during their stay in Italy while threatening to take steps against parents who spoke up on the matter.
One of the mothers, a well-known educator and blogger, told TPS that the nuns are ignoring the danger in the name of the rigorous teaching method implemented in the institution.
“Rosary is known for its strict discipline and in the name of discipline the principal is risking the safety of all students,” she charged. “The administration is threatening parents and students, and those who are staying home are expected to be punished. Parents are afraid to be exposed, and the Ministry of Health is not in the picture.”
Abu Saeed, another parent, told TPS that he chose not to send his daughter to Italy for fear of infection but “now the principal’s behavior brings the danger to us.”
“The girls were examined by a nurse, but there is no value to such checkups, as the incubation period takes 14 days. The parents expect the administration to work to prevent the spread of the disease and not to treat the virus if it is discovered. This school is home to 600 students and all are at risk,” he said.
He further alleged that “the institution has a long history of taking revenge on parents, so they are afraid to be exposed in the media.”
The school’s principal confirmed to TPS that she did not report the matter to the Ministry of Health, claiming she is under no obligation to do so and has found no reason to report an incident that did not occur, as she put it.
Parents of schoolchildren say that the management should have followed strict guidelines and required that the students returning from Italy remain in quarantine.
The school’s Director, Sister Lucy, confirmed in a conversation with TPS that 14 students attended a United Ambassadors Model United Nations Conference (MUNC) in Genoa, but stressed that the girls who landed in Rome and continued to Milan and Genoa did not make contact with their surroundings and were restricted to the conference venue and to the hotel.
She also said that the students were closely monitored and were required to wear masks and use disinfectants.
As for the parents’ allegations, the school principal says that before the delegation left for Italy, all parents met with the school’s management and only 14 families allowed their daughters to leave while all others, who refused, were not required to participate in the trip.
The principal said that since returning last Sunday, the girls were all examined by a nurse and since there was no concern, the girls returned to a full study routine as there was no need to quarantine them.
The principal did not report the visit to the Ministry of Health on their return but the trip to Italy was coordinated in advance with the Ministry of Health, she said.
Sister Lucy emphasized that she did not find any evidence to support the parents’ concerns.
A Health Ministry spokesperson stated Wednesday that it was not aware of the incident.
A call center providing information on contending with the spread of Coronavirus said that the procedures state that only if disease symptoms are detected, the entire group should be isolated for 14 days.