The Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Religious Affairs and Information, in recognition of the many challenges which can affect a nation in the wake of an outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), hereby informs of steps which must be taken within all schools to minimize the chances of an outbreak of the disease. (See mandatory guidelines as attached).
Profound commendations are extended to all schools which have already started a robust sensitization programme, with the promotion of heightened hygienic practices. This Ministry appeals to all schools to encourage modelling of the best practices, as detailed in the mandatory guidelines.
Please note that this Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, will seek to provide weekly updates on pertinent matters regarding COVID-19.
Mandatory Guidelines to Treat Issues Relative to COVID-19
- Students and members of staff who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms should not be accepted in school.
- Principals should designate a room as a Temporary Isolation Room. If necessary, two classes should be collapsed into one to facilitate this.
- i) If a student at school is showing flu-like symptoms, he/she should be sent to the Isolation Room.
- ii) The principal must ensure immediate notification of the parent to have him/her return home with urgency and to seek medical advice.
- Staff members who manifest flu-like symptoms should vacate the premises immediately and seek medical advice.
- Charts and posters which display information on basic protective measures should be visible in classrooms and other prominent places on the schools’ compound. (This Ministry will make as many hard copies as possible available.)
- Time is to be allocated for lessons on useful dietary practices and good hygiene, relative to the COVID-19. Students should be encouraged to create posters and other sensitization materials.
- Teachers must reiterate and reference proper cough, sneeze and handwashing techniques, as well as other guidelines, on a daily basis, in classrooms and in general assemblies.
- Ensure handwashing strategies include washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available. (This Ministry will supply schools with additional soap and other cleaning supplies, and protective gear for use in emergencies).
- Parents and guardians should be encouraged to provide their children/wards with sanitary towelettes, washrags and other materials, to support hand washing/cleansing exercises.
- Principals must convene a meeting with their caretakers regarding cleaning procedures.
- Principals should ensure that persons cleaning the school are adequately equipped and that extra care is taken with daily sanitization practices. (Additional supplies will be made available by this Ministry)
- When there is no running water in taps, parents should be notified and there should be the immediate closure of school.
- Principals must schedule a PTA meeting to take place before the end of March and give notice to MOE of same. (Every effort will be made by this Ministry to have a guest speaker present additional information on the Coronavirus)
- All Principals and Deputy Principals will be trained to serve as Focal Points and Deputy Focal Points, in support of national initiatives/responses. (A first session for this purpose is carded for Friday March 13, at 1:00 p.m., at this Ministry)
- The Ministry will make available to schools, a list of online learning options for students. All Principals should ensure that this information is shared with teachers, students, parents and guardians as appropriate.
- Schools should collaborate, share information, and review plans with local health officials to help protect the whole school community, including those with special health needs.
- Principals must alert this Ministry about large increases in student and staff absenteeism, particularly if absences appear due to respiratory illnesses (like the common cold or the “flu,” which have symptoms similar to symptoms of COVID-19).
- Persons with acute respiratory symptoms must be advised to inform their doctor, and the Ministry of Health via telephone numbers (473) 440-2649/ 417-1078, or 4172562.
We anticipate everyone’s cooperation in this regard.