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Minister Aishath Ali inspects schools prior to reopening on July 1

Ahmed Aiham
30 June 2020, MVT 16:45
Minister of Education Dr Aishath Ali. PHOTO: PRESIDENT'S OFFICE / NEOC
Ahmed Aiham
30 June 2020, MVT 16:45

Minister of Education Dr Aishath Ali on Sunday, inspected numerous schools across the Greater Male' Region, as the government gears up to reopen schools on Wednesday.

Schools were closed earlier in the year, as part of Maldives' response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

The delegation, led by the Education Ministry, visited a total of 13 educational facilities as part of their inspection.

Schools visited include Majeedhiyya School, Dharumavantha School, Iskandhar School, Aminiyya School, Jamaluddin School, Thaajuddeen School, Hiriya School, Imaaduddin School, Kalaafaan School, Huravee School, Rehendhi School, Ghaazee School, and the Centre for Higher Education.

The ministry previously confirmed that it had received the MVR 8.4 million needed to resume schooling, adding that preparations are underway to guarantee a safe environment for students and teachers.

In this regard, the ministry is currently equipping every school across the archipelago with sanitisers, disinfectants and soap, in addition to thermometers.

The education ministry also stated that establishing hand-washing stations in education facilities is underway, along with any other required maintenance work.

Furthermore, schools will maintain social distancing etiquette, mandating classrooms to separate each student by three feet.

Education ministry's Senior Policy Director Moosa Adam previously disclosed that schools across the country would be categorized into three groups during the new normal.

Schools located in islands under complete lockdown are prohibited from reopening while those in islands placed under monitoring by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) are permitted to teach students from grade 9 and above. Schools in islands with no reported cases of COVID-19 are allowed to resume classes.

An Emergency Response Plan (ERP) was also formulated in collaboration with UNICEF, focusing on five key-areas -- safety, continuity of education, inclusivity, protection and well being, and building resilience and strengthening coordination -- implemented before, during and after the reopening. The plan will be executed across a three-year period.

The education ministry has yet to secure the MVR 322 million (USD 20.9 million) required for the complete implementation of the plan.

Noting that students may mentally struggle with returning to school after a long break in the middle of a global pandemic, the ministry stated that 11,000 teachers were undergoing basic psychosocial support and psychological first-aid training programmes to better understand how to help such students.

The ministry is further providing training programmes on sanitisation and disinfection to support staff in schools.

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