Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

‘Time hasn’t come yet to reopen primary schools’

Published 10:35 pm | September 09, 2020

dainik somoy sangbad

Online Desk : Ministry of Primary and Mass Education has not issued any directive to reopen the government primary schools in the country.

However, the ministry has issued a directive concerning preparations to reopen government primary schools while maintaining health safety measurements and social distancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

Drawing attention over the issuance of directive to reopen government primary schools published in some online news portals, Primary and Mass Education Ministry’s senior secretary Md Akram Al Hasan said, “No directive has been issued to anyone to reopen the primary schools. A favorable situation has not arisen yet to reopen the schools. We have instructed the Director General of the Department of Primary Education to inform all at the school level about the guidelines for reopening the schools. At the same time, we asked to arrange posters and leaflets to create awareness.”

The ministry has prepared a comprehensive guideline for reopening primary schools by maintaining proper health protocols amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

In this regard, the ministry plans to implement 35 core activities under seven directives before reopening primary schools in the country after a long pause due to the pandemic.

The ministry on Tuesday directed all departments concerned to send the guidelines to all schools.

These guidelines will have to be followed strictly when the government takes its final decision to reopening schools.

Earlier, the government extended closure of all educational institutions, which began on March 18 to stop the spread Covid-19, till October 3 except for Qawmi madrasas.

The guidelines

1. The government will give the final instructions to reopen schools, all schools must follow 31-point instructions announced earlier by prime minister, Cabinet Division, Ministry of Public Administration, and the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

Schools should be reopened considering the situation and safety of the area it is situated in. If the government declared an area as a red zone, the schools in that area will not reopen.

2. Necessary planning and funding for school management needs to be ensured before reopening. Necessary budget planning and allocation for implementing the guidelines needs to be made. Allocation of funds needs to be ensured in advanced, where applicable.

3. The school authorities must formulate a detail protocol with child-friendly language to educate on cleanliness of the school and hygiene measures.

The protocols should also include the distribution of posters and leaflets with instructions on how to keep schools clean and disinfected, maintain social distance, sneezing etiquette, how to wash hands, use protective equipment, help the sick, and prepare safe food.

Besides, these directives may be promoted using social and mass media and religious institutions, as well as special initiatives, to inform children and their guardians. School teachers and staff need to be provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and training on how to implement the government directives.

4. Schools need to take advance preparations for ensuring safety measures, including separate toilets for boys and girls with running water, at least fifteen days before reopening.

At the same time, necessary measures should be taken to protect the menstrual health of girls. The school authority must collect necessary disinfectants, soap, and other cleaning materials to disinfect classrooms, office rooms, garbage containers, and toilets, including the school premises, every day before reopening.

In addition, teachers, students and staff, who are ill, and pregnant female teachers do not need to come to school after reopening. The schedule of the school, including opening time, closing time, and mid-day mealtimes, should be arranged in such a manner so that it does not create a crowd of students and their guardians.

School authorities will also formulate a plan locally by considering the school’s capacity and the number of students for multiple shifts to ensure social distancing.

However, the students of class five should be given priority in lesson planning.

5. The school authorities need to have sufficient numbers of non-contact thermometers to measure the temperature of teachers, staff, and students, and outsiders to maintain social distance at the entrance of the school.

At the same time, only two students will be allowed to sit on each long bench in the classroom.

Those found with unusually high temperature will be barred from entering the school. No internal gathering can be held until normalcy is restored. No one will go out unless it is essential during school.

However, the students who stay in hostels need to maintain social distance. Limited use of paper in the school and distance learning or online education should be encouraged.

6. The school authority must monitor various health parameters in the school and focus on the class study as well as distance learning. Schools should also focus more on teaching than taking exams.

7. The communication and coordination process needs to be enhanced to increase the involvement and exchange of views of local people, administrators, local representatives, health workers, children, and guardians on education-related and health issues.

Information centres should be set up in every upazila education office so that local people, including parents, can receive the necessary information.

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