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State schools struggling to comply with COVID-19 prevention measures

Many schools are unable to comply with measures to avert further outbreaks of the coronavirus due to a lack of necessary preventive equipment, according to an education official.
Most state schools need more preventive equipment such as temperature monitors, hand gel and face masks, and this is the reason they cannot follow procedures issued by the Ministry of Education and Sports.

Nevertheless, many schools have been able to implement steps such as increasing the number of classrooms and arranging suitable seating for students with social distancing of one metre.
Schools have handwashing basins with soap for students and teachers and cleaning classrooms once a week to reduce the risk of infections.
Director General of the General Education Department, Ministry of Education and Sports, Dr Sisouk Vongvichit updated Vientiane Times yesterday about how schools around the country were coping with implementing the measures.
Since final-year classes in primary, lower and upper secondary schools were reopened two weeks ago, education authorities have monitored state and private primary and secondary schools and found that many are not able to comply with the measures.
“The ministry has reported the problem to the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control for their consideration and to offer solutions to ensure the wellbeing of teachers and students,” Dr Sisouk said.
“After the government announced that Grade 5 primary and Grades 4 and 7 secondary classes would reopen on May 18, the ministry proposed the committee donate soap, hand gel, face masks, temperature monitors and build washbasins for schools nationwide, and we are now waiting for the response from the committee,” she said.
Director General of Communicable Disease Control Department, and a member of the National Taskforce Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control, Dr Rattanaxay Phetsouvan yesterday explained the committee had provided essential preventive equipment for border checkpoints and hospitals.
“For education institutions, the committee has advised school administrators buy soap, hand gel, face masks and temperature monitors. Many brands of equipment are not too expensive and easy to buy in markets.”
“The committee told the Ministry of Education and Sports to draw up a budget plan to propose to the committee to order essential preventive equipment that the schools needed,” Dr Rattanaxay added.
The ministry and the taskforce committee recommended that school administrators must implement precautionary measures to prevent further outbreaks of the coronavirus.
These include schools keeping their premises clean, teachers and students must wear face masks, and providing preventive equipment for students.
Teachers should arrange suitable seating for students with social distancing of at least one metre, and everyone must have their body temperature checked before entering school premises.

By Keoviengkhone Bounviseth
(Latest Update May 29, 2020)

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