Saturday 31 October, 2020

Guyana: Schools remain open following COVID-19 confirmation

Parents in Guyana have been advised to keep their sick children home.

The Ministry of Education (MoE) there gave this advice as it informed parents that schools would remain open after the country confirmed its first case of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

Guyana’s first COVID-19 case was a 52-year-old woman who contracted the virus during a trip to New York.

MoE said Guyanese should follow necessary precautions such as the frequent washing of hands and social distancing.

The Ministry also developed this checklist for teachers, ancillary staff and parents:

1. Promote and demonstrate regular hand washing and positive hygiene behaviours. Ensure adequate, clean and separate toilets for girls and boys

- Ensure soap and safe water is available at age-appropriate handwashing stations

- Encourage frequent and thorough washing (at least 20 seconds)

- Place hand sanitizers in toilets, classrooms, halls, and near exits where possible

2. Clean and disinfect school buildings, classrooms and especially water and sanitation facilities at least once a day, particularly surfaces that are touched by many people (railings, lunch tables, sports equipment, door and window handles, toys, teaching and learning aids etc.)

- Use sodium hypochlorite at 0.5% (equivalent 5000ppm) for disinfecting surfaces and 70% ethyl alcohol for disinfection of small items, and ensure appropriate equipment for cleaning staff

3. Increase airflow and ventilation where the climate allows (open windows, use air conditioning where available, etc.)

4. Post signs encouraging good hand and respiratory hygiene practices

5. Ensure trash is removed daily and disposed of safely.

6. Encourage students to stay home if sick. If your student gets sick at school, keep the sick student away from well students until picked up. Encourage your student to stay home if they are sick with any illness.

7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects in the classroom

(Adopted from the WHO/PAHO, UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies)

Guidelines for Parents

1. Practice and reinforce good prevention habits with your

-Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

-Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the
tissue in the trash.

-Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

2. Keep your child at home if sick with any illness. If your child is sick, keep them at home and contact your healthcare provider.

Talk with teachers about classroom assignments and activities they can do from home to keep up with their schoolwork.

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