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Ministry urges schools to keep up Covid measures

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Students are learning in class at Chaktomuk primary school in Phnom Penh's Daun Penh district last year. Heng Chivoan

Ministry urges schools to keep up Covid measures

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport instructed all education departments and public and private educational institutions across the country to strengthen health safety measures for educators and students for the academic year 2021-2022.

In a letter dated January 18, minister Hang Chuon Naron said administrators and educators need to make the process of teaching and learning during this school year safe and healthy in accordance with the concept of the “new normal in education”.

The letter said schools must contribute to the prevention of Covid-19, especially the Delta and Omicron variants. The letter said all education departments and education offices in municipalities and districts as well as public and private educational institutions have some additional necessary work to do on top of the measures already in place.

The ministry instructs them to stick with the standard operating procedures dated August 4, 2020, for the reopening of schools in the context of Covid-19.

The ministry urges that they set up health study committees under the education departments as coordinating mechanisms to promote work and study health, especially to focus on the needs of educators and learners.

The ministry also advised them to coordinate with the health education committees nationwide in implementing health safety measures when making any decisions to halt or reopen classrooms or schools whenever Covid-19 breaks out. It urges them to take responsive, soft and flexible measures according to the specific situation in each classroom or school.

Koh Kong provincial education department director Nget Leung said the ministry’s guidelines had already been disseminated to district education offices and schools.

“We follow the guidelines and we’ve strengthened our practice of implementing health safety measures for educators and students,” he said.

The ministry also recommends implementing group teaching and learning with up to 20 students and taking turns for classes at institutions with large numbers of students, as well as teaching and learning online.

Phnom Penh education department director Hem Sinareth said the ministry’s recommendations came after some educational institutions detected students infected with Covid-19, especially with Omicron.

“We also recommended strengthening the ministry’s protective measures in line with the ministry’s protective measures introduced since the first stage of Covid-19 requiring teachers and students to wear masks. So far we have seen teachers and students have performed this duty very well,” he said.

Kong Samneang, deputy director-general of the Westline Education Group, said that since private schools started the new school year before public schools, they have already started to implement these guidelines.

“We have tried hard to practise the three dos and three don’ts and to encourage students as well as teachers to get vaccinated. What we do and are effective at is providing information to each other between the students’ parents or academic staff suspected of Covid-19 infections. As soon as the information is provided, we will be able to take action quickly,” he said.

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