- Title: East Jerusalem parents demand school closures over coronavirus fears
- Date: 9th March 2020
- Summary: JERUSALEM (MARCH 9, 2020) (REUTERS) STUDENTS WALKING OUTSIDE SCHOOL FATHER AND SON WALKING OUTSIDE SCHOOL VIEW OF SCHOOL SAMER AYOUB LEAVING SCHOOL WITH HIS BROTHER (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MOTHER OF 16 YEAR OLD STUDENT SANER AYOUB, ARLETTE AYOUB, SAYING: "We were hesitant in the morning about sending our kids to school or not and we were confused. Some would write there is schools and others would write there is no schools. Parents council said that there will not be school and the school's administration said there is school so we thought that we'll just send them to school and see what happens. We sent them to school and to be honest we were worried, we're scared that there would be contamination." STUDENTS LEAVING SCHOOL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 16 YEAR OLD STUDENT, SAMER AYOUB, SAYING: "Most people who are infected they are under quarantine, the ministry of health is taking precautions and everyone who is coming from Bethlehem they are checking him and there is no great danger from what I think." AYOUB GETTING INTO CAR WITH HIS MOTHER STUDENT, WALKING TOWARDS CAR PARENT, LILIAN ABU LAIFI, WALKING WITH HER SON OUT OF SCHOOL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PARENT, LILIAN ABU LAIFI, SAYING: "Nothing has happened, why is the social media running everything, this is only something additional that is happening here. Other countries did not close everything like us here and we still don't even have any deaths, social media is just running everything." SECRETARY OF UNION OF PARENTS IN EAST JERUSALEM SCHOOLS, ADEL GHAZAWI ON THE PHONE (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SECRETARY OF UNION OF PARENTS IN EAST JERUSALEM SCHOOLS, ADEL GHAZAWI, SAYING: "The most important subject is the municipality is falling short on following up with out schools. Most of our schools lack the most basic protection means from diseases and from cleanness." FATHER AND SON LEAVING SCHOOL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SECRETARY OF UNION OF PARENTS IN EAST JERUSALEM SCHOOLS, ADEL GHAZAWI, SAYING: "Part of the decision was to pressure the municipality and to take enough time to discuss this with the ones in charge more towards realizing ways for protecting our children." SIGN READING (Arabic): "COLLÃˆGE DES FRÃˆRES HIGH SCHOOL, JERUSALEM, ESTABLISHED 1876." CHILDREN LEAVING SCHOOL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 18 YEAR OLD STUDENT, LIANA DAAS, SAYING: "I think that it is good to take time off because it is part of precautions, not precautions for the students themselves but for the people around them, for their grandparents, for the ones who are older than sixty who might get sick." STUDENTS LEAVING SCHOOL (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) 18 YEAR OLD STUDENT, LIANA DAAS, SAYING: "It is fine if the school closes but there must be an alternative plan such as giving us lessons on the internet, if the school closes it must give us an alternative, not to close without an alternative." VARIOUS OF CLOSED SCHOOL
- Keywords: Coronavirus Israel Palestinians schools closed
- Reuters ID: LVA001C4BYDL3
- Location: JERUSALEM
- City: JERUSALEM
- Country: Jerusalem
- Duration: 00:03:53
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: Palestinian parents in East Jerusalem are protesting against local authorities' decision to keep schools open on Monday (March 9), demanding they must close as a precaution to protect against the coronavirus.
There are 39 confirmed cases in Israel and another 25 in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where authorities on March 5 shut down schools, colleges and kindergartens for 30 days after declaring a state of emergency.
But in Israel and Jerusalem, most schools have remained open.
The Union of Parents in East Jerusalem, a parent-teacher group for Arabic-language in Palestinian schools in the city, released a statement voicing concerns that children could contract the disease at school and spread it back home.
"Most of our schools are unclean and lack the most basic means of protection from diseases," said Adel Ghazawi, the group's secretary.
Outside of East Jerusalem's CollÃ¨ge des FrÃ¨res High School, some students said they agreed schools should be closed but that administrators should come up with alternative measure to keep lessons going.
"There must be an alternative plan, such as giving us lessons on the internet ... they cannot close without an alternative," said student Liana Daas, 18.
However, other parents and students thought fears of the virus were overblown and criticized the Palestinians' state of emergency. They urged officials to keep schools open.
"Other countries did not close everything like us here, and we don't even have any deaths. Social media is just running everything," said Lilian Abu Laifa as she walked her son out of school.
Samer Ayoub, 16, said he was confident that official measures against the virus would stop its spread.
"Most people who are infected are under quarantine ... there is no great danger," he said.
(Production: Sinan abu Mayzer, Suheir Sheikh, Rami Ayyub)
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