Sat, 05 Apr 2003

Int'l schools open as usual, except SIS

Sari P. Setiogi, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Singapore International School (SIS) here has closed as a precaution against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

But most international schools in Jakarta remain open as usual, and have not suspended any of their activities.

The Singaporean school, located in Bona Vista, Lebak Bulus, South Jakarta, has closed following advice from the Singapore Board of Education.

"It is planned that students will resume studying as usual on April 10," secretary to the headmaster, Dini, told The Jakarta Post on Friday. "But during this period, all staffs will be available during office hours."

"The students were just on their holiday from March 24 to March 28 at the end of term one, but we have extended the holiday until April 10 as a precaution against SARS," she explained.

"On April 7, we will call the parents and students to the school and find out if they had been to Singapore or Hong Kong during the holiday," said Dini.

An SIS-affiliated school, the Singapore-Indonesia School in Kebon Jeruk, however, is open as usual.

A school official who declined to be named said that any students found with influenza symptoms would be sent home immediately and their families would be advised to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

So far, however, no SARS-like symptoms had been observed among the 60 students attending the school, so masks were not yet considered necessary, the school official said.

Niall Nelson, headmaster of Jakarta International School (JIS) in South Jakarta, told the Post that the school was open as usual, but that they were consulting medical authorities, both local and overseas.

"There is no confirmed case of SARS so far as declared by the Indonesian medical authorities, but we are carefully watching any development and keeping the information updated from the medical authorities," he said.

The Australian International Schools (AIS), located in Pejaten and Kemang, are currently on their end-of-term holidays. School will start as usual on April 14.

Kaviraj, headmaster of the Mahatma Gandhi School in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, said that they had taken precautions as the World Health Organization (WHO) advised.

"A full-time clinic is also available during school time, so if any students are feeling unwell, we are able to take care of them immediately," she said.

Wearing masks is permitted by the school, but no enforcement has been taken.

National High Junior School (NHJS) in Gandaria, South Jakarta, is also closed until April 7. Ade, a security guard, said that the school might have been closed as a precaution against the highly contagious disease. However, no officials were available to either confirm or deny this.