“The wearing of masks for everyone indoors is necessary unless they are sitting silently. There is a higher chance of airborne transmission of the COVID-19 virus while students are talking, especially in enclosed spaces such as classrooms”
Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Lee
(CMR) Students returning to the public schools next week will be subjected to numerous COVID-19 guidelines including the wearing of masks during the day. Key stakeholders have implemented a number of COVID-19 safety measures and met last week to review how effective those will be. The guidelines have been developed with the advance of the Chief Medical Officer and other public health professionals.
All students will be expected to wear masks during the day when inside. In addition, all teachers will be required to take a COVID-19 test before the school term begins. Social distancing will be enforced through floor markers and sanitation stations have also been installed to prevent the spread of the virus.
Schools are adopting a very strict set of protocols to ensure that students remain coronavirus free. Each school will be expected to produce their own reopening plan, based on guidelines from the ministry, and communicate this with parents.
Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly was part of an inspection team that reviewed how the process would work last week. She indicated her satisfaction with what she has seen thus far. During the tours, classrooms, corridors and common areas were inspected for overall cleanliness, social-distancing markers, signage, and adequate hand-washing and sanitization facilities. The team also inspected specific areas that have been identified as supplementary classrooms and storage space to maintain appropriate social distancing. She noted:
“I recognize that we have not yet achieved a complete state of readiness; still I am confident that DES [Department of Education Services] will continue to work closely with our schools to ensure that all the necessary measures are put in place before students return.”
Additional school-specific guidance will include advice on:
- Daily operations;
- Hygiene practices and provisions;
- Transportation (including school-bus measures);
- After-school activities.
Check our events calendar for upcoming orientation dates for government schools.