Lhakpa Quendren

Sonamthang Central School and Panbang Primary School in Zhemgang have suspended regular classes for a week until September 7 following an outbreak of conjunctivitis in Panbang.

The decision on class suspension comes following a consultation meeting among the school management, drungkhag, and hospital administrations in Panbang and dzongkhag health officials. The measure is expected to prevent the infection from spreading.

A Zhemgang dzongkhag health official said that more than 50 percent of the students were infected. “The infection will subside within three to four days. So, the risk of transmission will be less after five days, and the schools will be reopened after a week.”

He said that the hospital team and eye technician, after their visit to the schools, recommended school closure as a precautionary measure to contain the infection.

As of August 31, 335 out of 700 students and seven staff of Sonamthang school, and 200 out of 300 students of Panbang school have been infected.

Sonamthang Central School reported more than 50 new cases of the infection among the students every day.

The school has isolated all infected students and advised them to follow the remedies advised by health personnel to recover quickly.

Dayscholar students are advised to avoid swimming and leisure activities near the riverside. Students should stay at home, whereas boarder students should continue their usual routine within the school campus.

The school management said, “The health and safety of students and teachers remain our utmost priority, and we believe that this temporary closure will aid in preventing any further transmission.”

Panbang hospital, in a cautionary notification, advised the residents in Panbang to regularly wash their hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer. The hospital also recommended avoiding the sharing of personal items and maintaining a social distance from others in public places.

If someone is infected with the red-eye, the hospital urges them to visit an ophthalmologist for consultation. And also, visit the ophthalmologist for a follow-up eye test two weeks after treatment, while also isolating themselves and avoiding close contact with others.