Sharjah: With a new school year approaching, the Health Promotion Department, HPD, at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, SCFA, in Sharjah has launched an action plan to update the Healthy Schools Program standards.
These are in line with the precautionary measures and health requirements adopted by the UAE’s competent authorities and the World Health Organization, WHO.
This was stated during the virtual workshop organised recently by the HPD in cooperation with WHO EMRO and Water Alliance Association under the title “Healthy Schools Program Overview”.
The two-day event was attended by Iman Rashid Saif, Director, HPD, from WHO EMRO; Dr. Samar Elfeky, Regional Officer for Community-Based Initiatives and Healthy Settings; Peggy Hanna, Risk Communication and Community Engagement Consultant; Linda Merieau, Executive Director, Water Alliance Association; Edurne Gil, Program Director, Water Alliance Association, and Youssef Mohamed Al Harmoudi, the Secretary-General of Sharjah Emergency and Crisis and Disaster Management Team. Also attending were principals and officials of public and private schools participating in the programme and 310 participants.
Dr. Elfeky commended the cooperation between the HPD and WHO to update the standards of the Healthy Schools Program. The new standards include developing school curriculums embracing the mental and physical health concepts and stimulating students to follow the precautionary and preventive measures.
“Other standards include enhancing cooperation between education and health sectors to follow up on the communicable disease developments and preventions; ensuring students’ adherence to periodic vaccinations and check-ups; providing elements of health and safety in schools such as emergency plans, first-aid supplies, and cleaning and disinfecting equipment to curb the COVID-19 infection; training teachers and students on first aid, and providing a nurse in every school,” Elfeky pointed out.
Saif said, “Today’s workshop briefed the principals and officials of the participating schools on the most important global standards that we should abide by to prevent communicable diseases.” The HPD Director also shed light on the objectives of the Healthy Schools Program.
Al Harmoudi said, “Thanks to the visions and directives of the leadership, the UAE has established itself as a leading example of confronting crises. This is manifested in the country’s successful response to COVID-19 consequences and the gradual decline in the virus infection.”
Hanna highlighted the most important preventive measures. This includes maintaining physical distancing by arranging safe entry and exit of students and reducing their numbers in classrooms, staggering lunch breaks to avoid overcrowding, disinfecting classrooms and gaming tools regularly, and communicating with parents to support these preventive measures.
On the sidelines of the event, the “Hand-Washing Hero” initiative has been launched by the Water Alliance Association. The initiative will be carried out in the public and private schools in Sharjah. It qualifies academic staff to train students on the proper methods of washing hands and saving water at the same time.