The education authorities have made face masks and hand washing mandatory for students to join classes from primary to higher secondary level that are scheduled to reopen on 12 September, said a top education official.
"Teachers and students will not be allowed to enter schools without masks and hand washing. We will strictly monitor virus safety compliance," Prof Syed Golam Faruk, director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, told The Business Standard.
"If any school is found flouting virus safety rules, we will shut it down and take stern action," he added.
In line with the recommendations on school reopening by the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19, the education ministry has asked its divisional, district and upazila level officials to ensure virus safety measures at schools.
The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education and the Directorate of Primary Education have also asked teachers to convey the "no mask no entry" message to guardians.
The education ministry has directed the educational institutions to keep some masks at schools on their own so that students do not miss classes if they forget to bring masks from home.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said in Chandpur on Friday that primary, secondary and higher secondary educational institutions are expected to reopen on 12 September simultaneously nationwide.
However, the ministry will hold a meeting on Sunday to finalise the school reopening measures and chart out plans toward keeping infection risks low at schools. The technical committee members of the education ministry, primary and mass education ministry and health ministry will be present at the meeting.
Prof Syed Golam Faruk said, "We have sent the health guidelines to the educational institutions, and we will send another letter after the meeting on Sunday."
He added that the authorities will rigorously follow World Health Organization (WHO) health guidelines and health ministry directives.
He added that he visited ten schools in Manikganj district on Friday, and found "a very good atmosphere" there.
There should be no hanging out either
Prof Sayedur Rahman, pharmacology department chairman at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said students should not be allowed to hang out with their classmates or crowd school premises after the reopening.
Besides, the educational institutions must be clean and ensure enough ventilation, he said.
Prof Dr Nazrul Islam, a renowned virologist and former vice-chancellor of BSMMU, said he is concerned about virus safety being maintained at schools.
"If students and teachers adopt a lax approach to health safety, the reopening might be faced with a surge in infections," he noted.
NTAC Chairman Professor Mohammad Shahidullah told the media on Thursday night that there is no bar to a reopening of educational institutions. But cautionary steps must be taken considering the changing virus situation.
There are 1.5 lakh educational institutions with 4.5 crore students from primary to higher education in the country. The students have been away from academic life since 17 March last year as the pandemic-led crises forced schools to shutter.