Ministry of Health issues methodological recommendations for schools and school facilities

On Friday, 30 July, the Ministry of Health issued a Methodological Recommendation for schools and school facilities to enable a safe start to the new school year.

The principal recommendations are to maintain homogeneous collectives, limit mass events and observe increased hygiene measures. All schools should properly instruct their staff and students on the importance of these measures.

One of the most important recommendations is to limit the holding of mass school events, which should be postponed until the epidemic situation in your region is more favourable.  Any school tournaments, school trips, excursions, outdoor schools and all residential events, both domestic and foreign, should only be held under conditions of increased hygiene for participants in accordance with the requirements laid down by the extraordinary measure of the Ministry of Health.

In the school canteen, it is important to regulate the number of diners and their mass arrival and departure, ideally while maintaining homogeneous groups. In the case of meals served to external diners, the takeaway format is to be preferred and, if the diners are to eat on site, a special time or place should be set aside for them.

If an infectious disease or suspected infection occurs, it is necessary to set up an isolation unit in the facility, where the person is separated from the collective and allocated a separate room (day room, classroom, etc.) until the parents or legal guardians come pick them up. The room must be well ventilated and disinfected.  Separate restrooms with disinfection should also be provided for isolation purposes. School principals are also advised to provide regular health education to their staff and pupils or students attending the school.

In order to maintain communication, it is important to update the contacts (telephone numbers) of all legal guardians of children, pupils and students, and teaching and non-teaching staff before the start of the school year, and to establish a system of sharing information, i.e., to whom to report a child, pupil, student or staff member’s illness. For essential functions and positions, ensure work is done in a way (e.g. shift work) that maintains the functionality of the facility.

Accommodation in dormitories is only possible under the conditions of compliance with the OTN (vaccination, testing, illness) conditions stipulated by the extraordinary measure. If possible, it is recommended to allocate rooms to ensure quarantine measures for residents. In the case of foreign stays and internships, the currently valid protective measure of the Ministry of Health for travel and return of citizens to and from abroad and for staying in the Czech Republic must be followed.

We would like to add that in order to prevent the spread of disease, it is necessary to observe increased hygienic standards and use disinfectants with virucidal effect; all premises should be thoroughly ventilated, preferably with open windows, ideally even during lessons. During physical education and other similar activities, ensure that the premises and equipment are disinfected, and if possible, that these activities are held outdoors. The increased disinfection of frequently touched surfaces (handles, keyboards, railings) is recommended.  The same applies to school groups and clubs.

The methodological recommendation is linked to the valid extraordinary measures issued by the Ministry of Health, and to the anti-epidemic measures imposed on a regional level by the locally competent regional public health authority, as well as the Manual of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The full text of the recommendations can be found on the website (only in the Czech language).

The definition of antigen testing at the start of the school year, which was approved by the government at the end of June, can be found in the press release of 28 June.