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The SOPs for reopening educational institutions within Covid-19 context

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Minister of Education, Youth and Sport Dr Hang Chuon Naron visits a primary school.

The SOPs for reopening educational institutions within Covid-19 context

To ensure the highest safety measures are in place with the Kingdom’s schools carefully reopening, the Ministry of Education Youth and Sport (MoEYS) has prepared strategies based on two approaches.

Reopening is being carried in three phases for educational institutions that meet the strictest health safety standards.

Blended learning methods continue with a combination of in-class and distance learning through electronic platforms and self-study supported by supplementary worksheets and core textbooks as necessary.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education on August 4 released the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the reopening of schools within the context of Covid-19, introducing overarching rules and regulations.

These include the health measures that all educational institutions need to follow for operationalising their teaching and learning activities, as well as continuing to develop procedures to ensure sustainable safety standards for students, parents, teachers and all members of staff within the context of Covid-19 and beyond.

MoEYS strongly believes that department heads at the national, provincial, district and commune levels, school management committee members at all levels, public and private related authorities, parents, guardians and students should participate in realising the content of the SOPs to achieve effective results.

The SOPs cover four aspects – the development of legal frameworks and mechanisms; the enhancement of the learning infrastructure and environment; stakeholder engagement; and reporting platforms.

Development of legal framework and mechanisms

Health committees with outlined roles and responsibilities shall be created and regularly strengthened at all educational institutions.

The integration and strengthening of health activities should be included in the internal regulations of each educational institution.

Enhancement of learning infrastructure and environment

The ministry’s SOPs are designed to maintain safety, order and security at all educational institutions, and to create a safer learning environment.

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Teachers conduct routine checks to ensure safety.

All educational institutions must as a result apply the strictest anti-virus approaches in all buildings and garden areas, particularly in classrooms, libraries, laboratories, dining facilities and restrooms, before being allowed to reopen.

Educational institutions must frequently sterilise the surfaces of all frequent contact points – including doors, desks and chairs, for example – and anything else that can be touched.

Classroom seating must be at least two metres apart to ensure social distancing, while the number of students per class should be not more than 20-25. Communal events and social gatherings within educational institutions are prohibited.

To further enhance health standards for learners, academic staff and other personnel, educational institutions need to establish a health room and appoint a teacher to be in charge of the health of students and staff.

Learners, academic staff and all other personnel shall be advised to provide information on their health and overseas travel history for monitoring and documentation purposes.

Parents and guardians should also provide information on their health and travel history both within and outside the Kingdom, including meetings that could have potentially involved the spread of Covid-19.

Regular temperature checks shall be conducted on students, teaching staff and all other employees before they enter campus. Should a temperature higher than 37.5C be found, that person will not be allowed to enter the educational institution and will be advised to seek treatment at a hospital or health clinic or to stay at home.

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Washing facilities are readily available at schools to maintain hygiene.

Students and all teaching staff should bring food prepared at home, while educational institutions shall temporarily suspend all breakfast, lunch and food programmes until further notice. The selling of food and snacks both on and off campus will also be prohibited.

Regarding the supply of clean water and hygienic facilities, all educational institutions shall check the capacity of the clean water provided for students and teaching staff, and encourage them to also bring clean water from home for personal consumption.

Educational institutions shall also check the capacity of the sterile fluids provided, such as alcohol and hand sanitiser, for the daily consumption of students, teachers and other members of staff.

Restrooms must be regularly cleaned and have proper running water and soap, while members of children’s and youth councils should be assigned to regularly monitor and upkeep high levels of sanitation.

As part of health education and safety, educational institutions shall instruct all students, teaching staff and other personnel on the importance of social distancing, the sterilising of premises and other Covid-19 prevention measures.

Trusted official sources of information regarding the Covid-19 situation shall be used, including those from the Cambodian Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, as well as the World Health Organization.

Educational institutions have a duty to ensure students, teachers and other members of staff regularly comply with hygiene measures, including frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 40 seconds, especially before and after lessons, during breaks and before leaving for home.

Students, teachers and all other members of staff shall be instructed to remain vigilant and to regularly use alcohol or hand sanitiser and always wear masks, both when on campus and while travelling.

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A student wearing a face shield studies in class.

Stakeholder engagement

Educational institutions shall strengthen their existing collaborations with the respective provincial office of education, sub-national administration, school support committee, civil society organisation, community members, the parents and guardians of students, and other relevant stakeholders to collectively realise the respective roles and responsibilities in combating Covid-19 and other diseases.

Reporting mechanisms

Should the temperature of any student, teacher or other staff member be found to be higher than 37.5 C, that person will not be allowed to enter any educational institution and must contact the respective health authorities for appropriate treatment.

With the release of SOPs covering four such important aspects and the introduction of overarching rules and regulations, MoEYS is ensuring that the most stringent safety measures are in place as schools across Cambodia reopen.

By outlining the health measures that all the Kingdom’s educational institutions need to follow as the world tackles an unprecedented pandemic, the Ministry of Education continues to develop sustainable safety standards to protect teachers, students and parents alike within the context of Covid-19 and beyond.

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