Ahmedabad schools are put in a difficult position as parents have asked for online classes to resume, in order to avoid the spread of Hand, Food and Mouth Disease (HFMD), the occurrence of which has increased in the past couple of weeks, especially among students of pre-primary and early classes.
Manan Choksi, executive director of Udgam Group of Schools said that he is waiting for the infection cycle to break during the weekend, and the holidays which follow. He says they are waiting till Monday to decide if to resume the online classes or not. HFD is a self-limiting virus which resolves within itself within two weeks. Some commonly reported symptoms of the disease are Fever, malaise and rashes.
Seeing the increase in cases, especially in the past seven to ten days, parents have been asked to not send their children to school even if they are only a bit unwell or experience a few of the symptoms.
One of the renowned schools of Ahmedabad, Udgam, which has about 1,500 pre-primary children have been sending home those children with symptoms.
Ahmedabad based pediatrician Dr Mona Desai says there is a spike in HFMD cases in the city. She says that they have observed a rise in viral and fungal infections in children with the advent of the monsoon. She says that playing in the rain and a lack of proper physical hygiene usually causes these infections. It is common to get blisters or rashes on hand, feet and elbows in HFMD. She further adds that HFMD cases reported to private clinics in this monsoon are reportedly fewer than the ones seen last year.
Choksi, who, besides being the executive director of Udgam, is also the president of the Association for Promotion of Prominent Schools, said cases are being reported at other schools as well. He says he has not seen such a spike in cases in previous years. The issue, he continues, is mostly seen in pre-primary classes in multiple other schools as well.
The Bodakdev School for Children has sent many notices to parents requesting them to not to send children with symptoms to school. Bodakdev School principal Amoli Patel shared how the HFMD is not a new one, but after the Covid pandemic parents have discovered the option of online classes, and because of that, they are demanding it, after the HFMD outbreak.
There have also been instances where parents have either under-reported or hidden the children’s diseases.
An anonymous pediatrician at a government hospital, that there has been a spike in numbers reported by private pediatricians. She further stressed that as the virus enters through the mouths, it is crucial that children keep their hands away from their mouths.