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40 students from Europe quarantined at boarding school in Himachal Pradesh amid coronavirus outbreak

The batch of students returned to International Sahaja Public School near Dharamshala from their native countries in Europe a week ago after their winter vacation ended. Though none of them has Covid-19 symptoms, they have been quarantined as a precautionary measure
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Naresh Thakur
UPDATED ON MAR 17, 2020 01:41 PM IST

DHARAMSHALA: Forty students from European countries have been quarantined on the campus of International Sahaja Public School at Naddi village, 16 km from Dharamshala, in Himachal Pradesh in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The batch of 40 students returned from their native countries after their winter vacation ended a week ago.

Kangra deputy commissioner Rakesh Kumar Prajapati said that the district administration met the school authorities on Monday and asked them to ensure that the students shall remain in self-isolation on the campus.

“None of the students has symptoms of coronavirus infection but we have directed the school authorities to ensure that the children don’t leave the campus,” he said.

Another batch of 100 students, who were still to arrive, has been told to stay back till the situation becomes normal, Prajapati said.

The school, located at an altitude of 2,500 metres in the Himalayas, has children from 38 countries besides India from Classes 1 to 12. The residential school, affiliated with the Council for the Indian Certificate School Examinations (ICSE), was started in 1990. It has its own medical unit with a full-time doctor and nursing staff.

The school term begins in the third week of March and ends in the second half of December.

Some Indian parents complained to the deputy commissioner that the school was conducting classes in violation of the government’s direction, putting the health of their wards at risk.

The state government has closed all private and government educational institutions in Himachal Pradesh as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Prajapati said that he has sent a team, comprising police and health officials, to the school to check if the authorities are violating the advisory. “If the school is found conducting classes, it will be stopped,” he assured the parents.

When contacted, International Sahaja Public School director Ritesh Manake denied the charge of the parents and said: “We have suspended classes and new registrations have also been put off till April 13. The parents have been informed. We are delaying the session.”

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