The ministry has formulated some guidelines in this regard
The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education (PME) has issued a directive concerning preparations to reopen government primary schools while maintaining health safety measurements and social distancing amid the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
A directive signed by the ministry’s Deputy Secretary Shamim Ara Nazneen was issued on Tuesday, Joint Secretary Mohammad Shafiullah Arif of the ministry told Dhaka Tribune.
He said school authorities are instructed to make preparations according to the directive so that when the government takes a final decision to reopen schools, they will be ready.
According to the directive, the ministry has formulated some guidelines for school authorities on reopening schools in compliance with public health and hygiene rules.
It has been formulated as per directives from the Prime Minister’s Office, Cabinet Division, and Health Services Division, in addition to WHO, UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank and CDC (USA).
The guidelines will be sent to school authorities to make sure they take full precautions to maintain public health and hygiene rules before reopening schools across the country.
The guideline is intended to assist national preparation for and implementation of the government’s decision when schools reopen as part of the overall plan for public health and education.
As part of the preparation process, the ministry directed school authorities to prepare posters and leaflets on health safety guidelines and to distribute them among parents and students to raise awareness.
School authorities are instructed to make sure school premises are clean before classes resume. Any surfaces including door handles, staircase railings, or benches where the virus can live, will have to be disinfected.
Schools are also directed to limit the use of paper as much as possible to curb coronavirus transmission, according to the directive.
School authorities will also have to make sure they have running water on the school campus so that students and teachers can wash their hands regularly. Students and teachers will also have to wear masks on the school premises, the directive said.
The ministry also instructed school authorities to communicate with local authorities and guardians of students to increase their involvement in this regard.
According to the directive, the ministry has learned that the primary education dropout rate for poor children in the course of the coronavirus pandemic has been about 5 times higher than that of rich children.
As a result there is an increased risk of child marriage, early motherhood, sexual abuse, and violence among dropout children during the pandemic.
The ministry believes that the Covid-19 situation has a significant impact on marginalized children such as ethnic, disabled, and orphaned children.
Therefore, when the government decides to reopen schools as part of their overall plan for public health and education, the guidelines should be implemented keeping the following 6 points in mind:
Policymaking, financing, safe operation, learning, inclusion of the most significantly marginalized groups, and wellness and safety. Policymaking and financing will help implement the other directives in a coordinated manner, the directive said.