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Safety and hygiene a priority as schools in Kingdom reopen

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A face mask-clad student walks through a gate equipped with disinfectant spray as part of measures against the Covid-19 coronavirus in Phnom Penh on Monday, as schools reopen across the country. AFP

Safety and hygiene a priority as schools in Kingdom reopen

Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Hang Chuon Naron on Monday called on school officials to continue following the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for hygiene to prevent the spread of Covid-19 as schools reopen across the Kingdom.

Chuon Naron made the call during a visit to schools in Siem Reap province as they reopened on Monday after being closed for six months due to Covid-19.

“Our public schools have a large number of students, so we have advised them to divide kindergarten into two shifts.

“Primary school is divided into three shifts, and students only study two days a week. This is just a pilot for school reopening,” Chuon Naron said.

The ministry said public schools from Grades 9 to 12 across the Kingdom are allowed to reopen on Monday.

However, only four provinces were allowed to reopen all of their public educational institutions – Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri as they have a lower risk of contracting Covid-19 infections.

Chuon Naron said: “On the first day back, I noticed that some of the students seemed to have forgotten [the lesson], especially Grade 1 and Grade 2 students. But for students in 5th and 6th Grade, they did not forget much because they can learn on their own at home and online.”

He said schools had made efforts to follow hygiene standards recommended by the ministry.

The education ministry requires that students’ chairs must be at least 2m apart and classrooms must not exceed 15-20 students. Before entering school, all students are required to have their temperature taken, wash their hands, disinfect themselves and wear a mask.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said on Monday: “All school management must be involved in implementing the Ministry of Health’s hygiene standards and SOP to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”

The government closed all schools in March and required students to study remotely through television programmes or Facebook.

Schools have been divided into three categories depending on their safety standards. Schools with the highest safety standards will open first.

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