Muscat: In a bid to further tighten their defences against the fast spreading H1N1 virus, the Oman government has decided to postpone reopening of the 1,053 Education Ministry run schools.
The schools, imparting education to nearly 600,000 students, were due to open on September 26 after the regular reopening of August 29 was put off.
Now schools will open in staggered stages with higher classes opening first and lower grade pupils getting an extended summer vacation.
The schools for the 11th and 12th Grade students will now open on October 3 and two weeks later (October 17), schools will reopen gates for the Grade 8-10 students.
The fifth and seventh grade pupils will start their new academic year from October 31 while primary students (Grade 1-4) will get further one-week off (November 7).
"Basically we have delayed reopening of our schools after summer vacation to create better understanding among pupils, parents and teachers about the H1N1 virus spread," Dr Muna Bint Salim Al Jardaniya, Undersecretary for Education and Curriculum, had said while announcing the first postponement of the school reopening.
The Education Ministry has also decided to post medical staff in every school in the country. "The medical staff at the school will monitor students as well as coordinate with the MoH," she said.
After initial bout of H1N1 virus among its students, which forced closure of Indian School Muscat for two weeks, the 15 Indian Schools in Oman are running smoothly without any serious cases.
The Indian School authorities have instructed parents to keep sick pupils at home to avoid spreading viral fever among other students and it seems to have worked so far.
So far, majority of the patients in Oman have suffered from mild to moderate H1N1 attack but 18 people with other complications have succumbed to the flu virus that has spread across the nations.
The authorities are taking every step to generate more awareness as the health officials fear that the viral fever could spread faster and wider across the country in cooler months ahead.
"We cannot rule out wider spread during winter and more serious cases," Dr Ahmad Bin Mohammad Al Saidi, Undersecretary for Health Affairs, had said in a comment to Gulf News earlier.
Even as the total number of H1N1 positive patients in the country crosses 1,500 mark, the health ministry has advised people to avoid hugging, kissing or shaking hands while greeting each other, especially during the festive season of Eid Al Fitr.
New dates for school opening:
Class 1-4 November 7
Class 5-7 October 31
Class 8-10 October 17
Class 11-12 October 3