Reopening schools after a lockdown requires many considerations and care to be taken around every single individual working and studying in the school. It should also promote public health, if done well.
Along with all Tajikistan schools, Aga Khan Lycee (AKL) in Khorog reopened its doors to over 1000 schoolchildren on August 17, 2020. Preparing for this much awaited event, involved working with and advising the staff of Aga Khan Education Service in Tajikistan (AKES) about preventive measures and making sure all safety procedures were in place before the first student and teacher stepped into the school building.
Disseminating basic information about coronavirus - its symptoms, complications, how it is transmitted and how to prevent transmission - to increase and update the students’ understanding, is now the very first priority at AKL. Having information and facts about COVID-19 will help diminish students’ fears and parents’ worry around the disease.
To ensure the safety and health of teachers and students, AKL switched to a two-shift schooling schedule to reduce person-to-person contact. Preventative measures like physical distancing, regular hand washing with safe water and soap, alcohol rub/hand sanitizing, wearing masks and daily disinfection of the school premises, are strongly followed. Waste management and decontamination procedures are also part of the steps taken by AKL administration.
The safety and education programme at AKL encourages students to become advocates for disease prevention and control at home, in school, and in their community by dissemination of knowledge about how to prevent the spread of viruses as well as encouraging safe practices among family, friends and neighbours.