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Ministry Spells Out Plan For Reopening Of Schools

Source: Vientiane Times

The Ministry of Education and Sports has outlined 10 measures and 40 recommendations for the safe reopening of schools during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The ministry’s Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control has been working with the Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation and UNICEF to define the various measures and recommendations.

To ensure that these measures and guidelines are complied with throughout the country and to ensure the safety of schools, colleges and universities, the Ministry of Education and Sports has spelled out the following procedures.

Education and sports administrators at all levels are required to implement and disseminate measures within the scope of their responsibilities so they are fully prepared to safely resume face-to-face learning.

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The Education Department will organise a pilot reopening of schools, including class timetables, reopening date, school assistance plan, provision of Covid-19 immunisation equipment, and the provision of necessary supplies.

The department will appoint a committee to evaluate educational institutions according to the hierarchy of education and sports management and the location of each institution.

State and private pre-schools, schools, colleges, universities, vocational schools and centres for foreign education will be evaluated by an assessment committee and reports will be submitted to the Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control for approval on a case-by-case basis.

Recommendations will be disseminated and committees responsible for the evaluation of each level will be appointed from December 20-24 to complete this task, while the evaluation of educational institutions will take place from December 27 onwards.

The pilot reopening of educational institutions in Covid-affected areas will take place from January 10.

To pass the assessment, schools must meet at least 70 percent of the measures stipulated. A committee will visit the school to approve it for reopening.

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Any school that does not meet the criteria must take steps to do so and meet the conditions for reopening.

Schools whose reopening has been approved must continue to assess the risks and summarise lessons learned with parents’ associations, village education development committees and health authorities on a regular basis.

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

Guidance for cases of infection in educational institutions will be given, along with specific documentation.

The Ministry of Education and Sports has been working with the Ministry of Health to create conditions that will enable schools to reopen after the Prime Minister’s Office gave the go ahead for the plan.

The ministry said the details of the reopening programme will be conveyed to all state and private schools.

School administrators must ensure that facilities are safe from infection and that classes can be taught as normal but in line with certain conditions. The ministry will assign local staff to monitor the situation at each school.