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Children Start Return To Classrooms

Source: Vientiane Times

Many children returned to classes on Monday, with most being final-year students in primary and secondary schools.

More schools are opening in Vientiane and the provinces as part of the phased reopening of schools, which is being monitored by the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Health, and local authorities.

Schools are following the “safe schools” protocols approved by the National Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control.

The Ministry of Education and Sports says schools are ensuring that all teachers and students properly wear face masks, follow the rules on social distancing, wash their hands regularly, and keep classrooms well ventilated.

Children and staff are undergoing temperature checks before entering school and are being reminded to follow the standard Covid guidance, while all teachers have been fully vaccinated.

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A teacher at Huana Primary School, a state-run school in Xaythany district, Vientiane, which opened at the end of December, said pupils were pleased to be back in the classroom.

“We have placed desks at a safe distance apart and are ensuring that good hygiene measures are followed,” the teacher said.

The school wants to be certain that all children are safe and that parents are confident about the precautions that have been put in place.

Education and health teams are visiting schools around the capital to assess their readiness to reopen safely in line with Covid prevention measures.

To pass the assessment, all schools must show they can comply with 70 percent or more of the 10 measures and 40 recommendations laid down by the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Any school that does not meet these criteria must take steps to do so and meet the conditions for reopening.
Schools that remain closed are advised to continue with online learning in key subjects.

After a school has reopened under the pilot scheme, the area will be monitored twice weekly to report the highest number of Covid infections, while the lowest number will be reported once a week.

The Ministry of Education and Sports and development partners have been providing digital contactless thermometers, face masks, soap and posters to schools in Vientiane to support safe reopening.

They have also been assisting the safe reopening of schools in virus-risk areas and have visited schools in Vientiane along with local education officials.