Schools reopen under four stages | Sunday Observer

Schools reopen under four stages

After almost three months the Education Ministry has taken steps to reopen schools in several stages under the strict regulations issued by the Health Ministry.  

National Schools Director, Kithsiri Liyanagamage said the Education Ministry will monitor the schools through Public Health Inspectors (PHI) to ensure that they abide by the health instructions.

He said the Ministry will provide instruction hand books to all teachers and students so that they are aware of the guidelines. A PHI will be in charge of ten schools in the area and monitor all the activities of the schools and submit a monthly report to the Education Ministry. Private and semi Government schools will also come under these new regulations, he added.  

However, all extracurricular activities such as sports activities, meetings and other school events will be taboo until further notice, he said. Schools will be permitted to conduct only the PT class and morning assembly under the new health guidelines, including social distancing norms, Director Liyanagamage said.  

Schools which have been used as quarantine centres for the Tri forces have to be handed over to the Education Ministry four days prior to July 29 when the schools are set to reopen, after ensuring that these premises are ready for occupation by the students.  

He said, “Even though the schools will reopen, we request all students to wear face masks and follow health instructions until further notice.”  

The Government is planning to provide at least two face masks per student. It is learnt that many sponsors have come forward to donate face masks, sanitisers and other necessary items to schools.

At the same time the Ministry has issued instructions on how to stitch a face mask with a suitable piece of cloth, to promote students to make their own masks or do so with an adult’s help, he said.  

“We have requested all schools to fix a foot-operated tap and a sink at the entrance of the school. These instructions are mandatory for all government, semi government and private schools and we have requested International Schools also to follow the same procedure,” Liyanagamage said.   Education Minister, Dullas Alahapperuma directed all schools in the island to close for school vacations from March 13, 2020 due to the Covi-19 pandemic. Since then nearly 4.5 million students are following their academic studies via online classes. After the green light given by the Health Ministry the Education Ministry has taken steps to reopen schools under four stages.  

According to the revised school calendar of the Education Ministry the second term will begin on Monday, July 6 and end on Friday, September 4.

The third term will start on Monday, October 5 and end on Friday, November 27.  

The G.C.E Advanced Level examination will be conducted from September 7 to October 2 and the Grade 5 scholarship exam will be held on September 13.  

Under the first stage, from June 29 to July 3, school principals, management staff, teachers and non-academic staff are expected to attend school to draw up a pre plan of the syllabus to be covered.  

During the second stage from July 6 to July 17, the students sitting national exams in August, Grades 5, 11 and 13 - will be allowed to return to school.  

In the third stage, from July 20 to 24 Grades 10 and 12 will be reopened. The fourth stage will start on July 27, which will be open to students of Grades 9,8,7,6,4 and 3 to cover the syllabus of the current year.  

Meanwhile, Director Liyanagamage said Grades 3 and 4 will have sessions up to 11.30 a.m., Grade 5 up to 12 noon, Grades 6,7,8 and 9 sessions will be held until 1.30 p.m., and Grades 10,11,12 and 13 up to 3.30 p.m. to complete the syllabus. However, he said no schools will be open on weekends, and the times can be changed according to the school management with the congruence of the Zonal Education Departments.  

School principals have been instructed not to have the mid day break for the children at the same time and to let them take a break at separate times.  

All school labs and the library should be disinfected daily, and the Ministry has strictly ordered to close all rooms of the head prefect, scouts and sports room until further notice.

The  Education Ministry has also decided not to hold the second term tests  for students this year in view of the situation and proceed with only  the school based assessments. 

Examination  Commissioner Sanath B. Pujitha told the Sunday Observer  the Examination  Department is still discussing on how to proceed with the G.C.E  Advanced  Level and the Grade 5 Scholarship examinations under Covid 19 health  regulations.

 He said it was too early to forecast if the results will be  delayed due to the postponement of the AL exam and whether that will  affect  the university entrance. However, they are making every effort to  protect the candidates during exams and minimise the negative effects of the  pandemic.  

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