All state-owned schools across Sri Lanka re-opened on Monday after being shut for over a month amid the COVID-19 pandemic which has infected more than 2,800 people in the island nation. Schools re-opened for all grades under strict health guidelines which included students wearing face masks and maintaining hand hygiene at regular intervals, reports Xinhua news agency.
Desks in classrooms were also kept at a one-meter distance and students were prohibited from going to playgrounds or taking part in sports.
The Education Ministry said that schools that have over 200 students will, however, operate classes on separate days in order to maintain a strict social distancing policy and to prevent a large number of students from gathering in one place at the same time. School canteens were also not permitted to operate until confirmation from health authorities, the Ministry said.
A Silver Lining
All schools in the island nation were shut in mid-March when Sri Lanka detected its first local COVID-19 infection. Schools were later re-opened for selected grades in July but were closed again following the threat of a fresh outbreak of the virus.
The Education Ministry said they had decided to re-open schools on Monday after no community transmission of the virus had been detected in recent weeks and authorities said the virus was now confined with the quarantine centers only.
Till Monday morning, 2,844 patients were detected in Sri Lanka, out of which 2,593 patients had recovered and been discharged, with 11 deaths reported from the virus.