Schools in Phuentsholing resume with strict protocols

Classes VII and VIII students have returned to the schools to resume their regular classes

The disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic affected people from all walks of lives, with many claiming complete loss of livelihood overnight. It did not even spare schools and associated learning institutions across the country, especially the students in Phuentsholing, who had to live through the nightmare. 

With the sudden explosion in the number of positive cases, Phuentsholing went into a complete lockdown for over three months, during which schools, businesses and offices remained closed. Classes went online and as an interim measure, students from Classes IX to XII were relocated to Punakha.   

However, with the sharp drop in the number of positive cases now, Classes VII and VIII students have returned back to their schools for regular classes, while students from Classes PP to VI still continue with online teaching from home.

But the relaxation comes with strict Covid-19 protocols prepared by the Southern Covid-19 Task Force. 

The Principal of the Phuentsholing Lower Secondary School (PLSS), Chimi Rinzin, said the school is in its second week of contact teaching.

“New and strict protocols have been implemented by the task force,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Phuentsholing Higher Secondary School (PHSS) and the Phuentsholing Middle Secondary School (PMSS) are being used for Covid-19 related purposes and therefore Classes VII and VIII students of PHSS have been accommodated at the Sonamgang Middle Secondary School (SMSS), while the students of the same standards of PMSS have been relocated to Phuentsholing Lower Secondary School (PLSS).   

Chimi Rinzin added that the school campus has been used by the PMSS students, where they have put in place a new set of protocols. For instance, the students and teachers of PLSS enter the campus 30 minutes earlier than the students and teachers of PMSS and they use different entrance gates. 

“The two schools operate on the same campus but with different timings and teachers,” he said. 

 “There are currently 168 students in the campus including teachers from both the schools.” 

Likewise, the Principal of the PMSS, Tshewang Dendup, explained that although his students share the campus with the students of PLSS, they enter only after the guest teachers and students are already in the classroom. Here as well they use different entrances to the school.   

He said the students of PMSS use different entrances and the main gate is used only by the PLSS students.

“There is a difference of 30 minutes between PLSS and PMSS students,” he said, adding the morning assembly is not being conducted at the moment and students directly attend the classes.

The Vice-Principal of SMSS, Chimi Pelden, mentioned there are 120 students who are currently in the second week of contact teaching.   

“Even if a student or a teacher stays on leave, while returning to the school campus they have to do the Covid-19 test and show the report, besides strictly following strict mask and hand washing rules,” she said, “Such protocols are set to keep the school safe.” 

Meanwhile, Phuentsholing has not seen a single community case for over a month now. 

Sonam Tashi from Phuentsholing