Several schools have found students suffering from hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) at the pre-primary level.
The schools have asked parents to keep the infected children at home. According to doctors, since the disease is infectious it is advisable to keep the infected child away from others and not be sent to school for a period of six to seven days.
At least one city school has shifted to online classes in the pre-primary section because of the increase in HFMD cases and some others have issued advisories for parents. Bhavan’s Gangabux Kanoria Vidyamandir started conducting online lessons for children in Preparatory I, Preparatory II and Class I earlier this week.
The online classes will continue for another week.
“For the past few days, we noticed that around seven to eight children in each section were staying away from the classes on an average. It is unusual because in these classes we usually have almost 100 per cent attendance every day. When we inquired we found that about 40 per cent of the students were staying away because of hand, foot, and mouth disease,” said G.V. Subramanian, director of the school.
“The medical advice was to break the infection chain and thus we decided to shift to online classes for a couple of weeks,” Subramanian said.
According to doctors, hand, foot, and mouth disease is mostly affecting children from 1-plus to 5-plus age groups.
“Since it is contagious we advice parents not to send children to school for about six days. The children who are between 3 to 5 years are mostly affected by the disease. But it can also affect children below 3 years,” said Apurba Ghosh, director, Institute of Child Health.
According to paediatrician B.K. Manocha, HFMD causes ulcers in the mouth of some children and blisters in elbows, hands, knees and buttocks. “Children can or cannot get fever and the blisters take about a week to dry,” said Manocha.
Several other schools have asked parents not to send infected children to school to check the spread among other children. “We are constantly reminding parents to check their children at home and not send them if they see any symptoms of the disease. There are some who are absent because of the disease and some others who are staying away fearing infection,” said D.K. Chadda, principal, South Point School.
Chadda said that they found the disease affecting mostly the children in nursery. Lakshmipat Singhania Academy has issued a circular to parents asking them to keep infected children at home.
“At this difficult time, we urge you all to not send students to school if they have any infection, fever, rash, runny nose etc. Let’s be sensitive and stop the spread. Give them time to rest and recover,” the notice reads.
The school has asked parents to produce a fit certificate from a medical practitioner when children resume school.