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Health ministry advises on safe reopening of schools
Many schools have been given approval to resume face-to-face classes on January 31 but have been warned they must strictly comply with Covid prevention rules.
Deputy Director General of the Department of Communicable Diseases Control, under the Ministry of Health, Dr Sisavath Southanilaxay, has advised schools whose reopening has been approved to ensure they closely follow 10 measures laid down by the ministry.
“These measures and guidelines will help to ease the risk of infection among students and staff,” Dr Sisavath said. “If schools do not comply, they run the risk of spreading the virus to families and communities, and more outbreaks will follow.” Parents should teach their children how to protect themselves from infection by regularly washing their hands, wearing a face mask, checking their temperature, and following the rules on social distancing.
It is also important that parents get their children vaccinated. The Ministry of Education and Sports is continuing to compile data on the number of schools that have been authorised to resume face-to-face classes. To ensure the safe reopening of schools amid the Covid-19 outbreak, the ministry’s Taskforce for Covid-19 Prevention and Control has been working with the Ministry of Health to define measures and recommendations on infection control.
The Ministry of Education and Sports has instructed education and sports administrators at all levels to implement measures within the scope of their responsibilities so that schools are fully prepared to safely resume face-to-face learning. The Education Department will organise a pilot reopening of schools, to include timetable scheduling, reopening date, school assistance plan, and provision of Covid-19 immunisation supplies and other essentials.
The pilot reopening of Grade 5 in primary schools and Grades 4 and 7 in secondary schools will kick off on January 31.
Before they can reopen, schools must meet at least 70 percent of the measures stipulated by the ministry, and their suitability for reopening will be assessed by a special committee. Many state and private schools in Vientiane and the provinces have already been given authorisation to resume face-to-face classes.
After a school has reopened under the pilot scheme, the area will be monitored twice weekly to identify the highest and lowest number of Covid infections.
The Ministry of Education and Sports said the details of the reopening programme have been 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 specified conditions, while the ministry has assigned local staff to monitor the situation at each school.

By Times Reporters
 (Latest Update January 21, 2022)

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