Schools reopen fully in Sri Lanka after 4 months coronavirus lockdown

Students wearing face masks sit inside a classroom at the Marie Curie school in Hanoi on 4 May, 2020. (AFP Photo). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

COLOMBO, Aug 10, 2020, PTI. Sri Lanka on Monday fully reopened schools after keeping them closed for over four months due to the lockdown imposed in the country to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Financial Express reported.

All schools in the island nation were shut mid-March when Lanka detected its first COVID-19 infection. Schools were re-opened for selected grades in July but were closed again after few days following the threat of a fresh outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

“All schools are reopened today with respective grades starting classes on a staggered basis,” Education Secretary NHM Chithrananda said. Schools with less than 200 students will operate as it used to before the pandemic lockdown in March. They will conduct classes as usual, while maintaining the 1-metre social distancing norm. However, schools with over 200 students would decide which grades should attend on which date due to the need to maintain social distancing as instructed by the health guidelines, Chithrananda said.

School canteens are not permitted to open until confirmation from health authorities on COVID-19 being fully controlled, officials said. The move to reopen schools has been taken in the wake of the country successfully curbing the community spread of the coronavirus, they said. Sri Lanka has not witnessed a single community case since April 30.

However, health authorities have warned that the threat of the pandemic is not completely over. Sri Lanka has so far reported 2,844 coronavirus cases, including 2,579 recoveries and 11 fatalities.

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