Thai health dept eyes reopening day schools in sandbox setting
The Department of Health is planning to expand its “Sandbox Safety Zone in School” project to day schools after it proved to be successful with boarding schools.
Director-general Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai said on Tuesday that the department had launched the campaign for on-site classes at boarding schools.
In line with the project, schools set up a separate screening, quarantine and safe or green zones. This project was deemed successful despite some infections via contact with outsiders.
The department has set up an additional seven measures for schools to follow over and above the six main measures (DMHT-RC) and six side measures (SSET-CQ) that are already in place.
The seven new measures are:
• Schools must assess themselves via the Thai Stop COVID Plus and MOECOVID websites
• Hold activities in small groups and stick within these groups
• Ensure food is nutritious and prepared in a hygienic manner
• Ensure all areas are well ventilated
• Set up an isolation zone if there are patients
• Set up a sealed route for travel
• Create a school pass for students, teachers and staff that carries all risk assessment data such as up-to-date test results, vaccination records and infection history.
In addition, at least 85 per cent of teachers and personnel in schools within the green zone must be inoculated and undergo risk assessment once a week.
Schools that are in the yellow or high-surveillance zone must conduct tests using antigen test kits (ATK) at least twice a week, as should schools in the orange or controlled zone.
Schools that fall in the red or maximum control zone must assess their risk on the Thai Stop COVID Plus website and apply Covid-free settings. These schools must ensure there are no more than 25 students in a class at any given time, create a school pass, conduct ATK tests among personnel once or twice a week and assess its risk thrice a week. Organisations within 10 metres of the campus are also advised to do the same.
Schools in the dark red or maximum and strict control zone are required to conduct ATK tests on personnel twice a week and assess their risk daily.