Guidelines for re-opening of schools issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19

Sunday, 22 November 2020 - 19:17

The guidelines that needs to be followed when preparing schools and educational institutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has been issued by the Ministry of Health.

Click here for the full guidelines

The text of the circular issued is given here;
This circular is issued in concurrence with the circular no. FHB/SHU/COVID/Let/2020 dated 29.04.29 by the Director General of Health services of the Ministry of Health with regard to the guidelines of preparing schools to prevent Covid-19 has been issued alonmg with the detailed guidelines.

Since the situation has been declared as an outbreak of a pandemic disease, paying special attention in preventing the spread of Corona virus is considered a social responsibility. Accordingly, the schools/ Pirivenas/Colleges of Education/ Teacher Training Colleges will be reopened only after obtaining the recommendations of the Ministry of Health. Therefore, the dates and procedures of re-opening schools shall be notified in due course.

As per the circular 2019/02 on School Health Promotion issued by the Ministry of Education, the provincial level health promotion committee needs to be activated with the guidance and direction of the Provincial Secretary of Education. This committee should consist of the Provincial Director of Education, the Provincial Director of Health Services, District Secretary, the Director of District Health Services, Zonal Director of Education and representatives from identified important sectors such as the transport sector, local government offices etc. At the provincial level, all decisions should be made as per the instructions and guidelines issued by the Provincial Director of Health Services and all action taken need to be in accordance with their guidance and direction.

In view of the above, the role of said committee shall be, identifying the prevailing situation and providing necessary facilities to assist, monitor, guide and direct the schools and privenas. Health Promotion Committees need to be active at zonal level as well and they should take necessary action as per the guidance and directions of the Director of District Health Services.

Similarly, institutional level Health Promotion Committees should be active with the guidance / direction of the chief incumbent of the Pirivena / the Principal of the school. These committees should always act as per the advice and guidance of the office of the Medical Officer of Health in the area and should seek their guidance in case of an emergency. All National Collages of Education and Teachers’ Colleges should also establish Health Promotion Committees of their own.

In accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, schools / other institutions should be reopened only after the assurance provided by the Health Promotion Committee that the school environment is healthy and safe.
Initially, the Presidents / School Heads need to meet with their academic staff and prepare the schools/colleges for teaching –learning process.

In this regard, it is required to consider following:

1. Ensure adequate hand washing facilities are provided at the entrance and exit gates of the school, near the toilets, and if possible close to the classrooms.
2. Ensure continuous water supply as required.
3. If the school/ institution is currently being used for any other programs / activities, such programs / activities need to be terminated three days prior to the commencement of academic work.
4. Clean the school /institution and sterilize the premises.
5. Decide a location to measure the body temperature and supply required instruments.
6. Prepare a sick room with minimum required equipment as per the guideline to keep the sick children
away from other children in case of an emergency.
7. Instruct the academic and non-academic staff, entrust the responsibilities and train them.
8. Make the parents and school community aware. (School development committee, old boys
association etc.)
9. Keep someone at the gate to verbally check the symptoms of COVID-19

After the completion of preliminary work, the President / Chief Incumbent/ Principal should make a log entry regarding the measures taken to maintain healthy and safe environment at the school/ institution and inform the Deputy/ Assistant Divisional Director of Education and Zonal director of Education or the Chief Commissioner (Teacher Education).
The schools will be re-opened at different stages depending on the number of students and considering the prevailing condition in the regions.

Such information on grades and number of students to re-open schools and the order of reopening shall be notified in due course. It is mandatory to comply with such instructions given with regard to re-opening schools / institutions and pay special attention on following practices.

1. Maintain social distance / physical distance.
2. Promote personal hygiene practices.
3. Waste disposal and environment cleanliness.
4. Pay due attention to mental health issues and psychosocial needs.
5. Update with latest information on COVID 19 and make others aware.
6. Follow proper procedures when a child or a member of staff falls ill during school hours.

A detailed description with regard to the procedures to be taken before re-opening of schools and measures to be taken during school hours is included in the guideline provided herewith. Further, all heads of schools/ institutions have to maintain direct contact with the office of MoH and should seek their advice immediately in case of any emergency. The necessary advice, guidance and assistance could also be obtained by contacting hot line1390 in case of an emergency.

During the period of this COVID 19 pandemic, it is required to act promptly, in accordance with the advices of the Director General of Health Services or the Provincial Director of Health Services or the Director of District Health Services or the Medical Officer of Health.
Arrangements will be made to release funds for procuring necessary equipment and items for the pre-preparedness as per the guidelines given herewith. Having considered this as an approved new project, schools also need to use unutilized funds in the School Development Society account for necessary arrangements as appropriate. Other institutions need to use their existing allocations for this purpose.
Accordingly, all schools need to plan the timetables, conduct classes, engage teachers in learning teaching process and maintain records on monitoring activities and check lists properly.

Before commencement of schools, as per the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, a safe and healthy environment should be established and the officials of Ministry of Health should be satisfied with those measures. Accordingly, the school environment should be prepared, understanding the nature of disease, and take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the disease. 

For the detailed guidelines please follow the link given below;
Click here for the full guidelines