Statement from Lancs mosque leaders on reopening madrassas
Written by Skywave Radio News on June 17, 2020
Lancashire’s Islamic schools will not reopen until the Government says they can.
That is according to the Lancashire Council of Mosques, which has said the earliest date on which the religious schools – or madrassas – will reopen will be Saturday, July 4.
Until then, the LCM has issued guidance to madrassas throughout Lancashire on how they can adapt.
And even after reopening, remote learning is set to remain as the main form of education due to the continued worries surrounding the transmission of Covid-19.
Among the fresh guidance, which was issued yesterday afternoon (June 16) in conjunction with the Lancashire Resilience Forum, LCM leaders have said students will return in “gradual phases”, with capacity dependent on the size of madrassas.
Staggered opening and closing times have also been advised to avoid crowding.
Initially, a quarter of students from each madrassa will be asked to attend for just one day a week from Monday through to Thursday.
In the advice, signed by LCM chair Maulana Rafiq Sufi as well as public health personnel from Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, it adds: “Cleaning of all learning and social spaces will be undertaken at the end of each day.
“In addition, carpets will be regularly cleaned, though all students and teachers will be required to bring a prayer mat (or equivalent) to sit on during their lesson.”
Madrassas will then be closed on Fridays for deep cleaning of all learning and social spaces.
Teachers and students who are shielding or clinically vulnerable will stay at home, with online teaching delivered in its place.
And like with state schools, 14 day periods of isolation will be in place for those who have Covid-19 symptoms or have been in touch with those who do – unless a test confirms they do not have the virus before the two week period is over.
Hand washing will be required upon entry and exit of the madrassa, likewise after coughing, sneezing or visiting the toilet.
No food will be allowed in the county’s madrassas, with books and stationary not shared among pupils.
What is a madrassa?
In general, madrassas focus on teaching the Qur’an and the recorded sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.
They also teach young Muslims about sacred law and other Islamic subjects.
Madrassas form part of a mosque.
Action plans are being recommended prior to July 4, which should include:
- Appointing a Covid-19 designated person from existing staff
- Appointing other volunteers and/or staff to Covid-19 team managed by the Covid-19 designated person.
- If possible all staff to undertake infection control training
- Where possible try to keep Masjid and Madrasah activity separate
- Complete the Risk Assessment
- Produce Reopening Plan to meet Covid-19 requirements / regulations and building capacity.
- Consult with staff
- Secure approval from Trustees / Madrasah Committee
- Prepare the Madrasah estate, including the production of posters to reinforce social distancing and hygiene expectations
- Communicate with parents
- Induct and train staff in the new expectations and operational procedures
- Induct pupils in the new expectations and operational procedure