Back to school: Health DG reminds pupils to practice social distancing, hand-washing

Annabelle Lee

Modified 12 Jun 2020, 12:46 pm

Health Ministry Director-General Dr Noor Hisham has urged students to adhere to social distancing and hand hygiene procedures when they return to school come June 24.

According to the top official, social distancing is highly effective in reducing the risk of Covid-19 outbreaks.

Asked today if the ministry would advise all students to don facemasks, Noor Hisham said the present standard operating procedures (SOPs) were sufficient in ensuring schools were safe.

Under the present rules, students who exhibit Covid-19 symptoms like fever or cough and who have a weak immune system will be provided facemasks.

“Those who have symptoms, then they are encouraged to put on a mask. But otherwise, we look into the social distancing (procedures).

“If they can comply with social distancing, then we can reduce the risk of infection by more than 65 percent to 70 percent,” he said.

Come June 24, Form Five and Form Six Upper students will be returning to classes.

Noor Hisham said the ministry will be monitoring the gradual reopening of schools and tweak its SOPs if needed.

“This is something we can improve (on) from time-to-time,” he said.

Under the detailed SOPs for schools, students are not allowed to eat in the canteen but must instead consume bought food or their own packed food in their respective classes.

Physical social distancing markers must be made in the canteens and inside classrooms, offices and elevators.

Handsoap and hand sanitisers must also be provided.

The full 34-page SOPs can be found here.

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