DSEJ guidelines for class resumption discourage sports

The guidelines issued by the Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) to local schools for class resumption discourage sports practice during physical education (PE) classes, the head of Division for Secondary and Vocational Education of the DSEJ, Leong I On said yesterday during the daily press conference of the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center.
In reply to a question from the media asking if the DSEJ had issued any guidance to schools regarding the practice of sports related to the use of facemasks, Leong said that the bureau had issued recommendations to schools not to perform sporting activities while students are wearing facemasks, adding that other types of activities and sports education of a more theoretical kind would be preferred.
“Schools can use these classes [PE] to teach something more theoretical and knowledge related with the subject and to health,” Leong said. “We recommend learning about how to practice sports and also how to engage in physical [fitness activities] while at home.”
According to Leong, PE classes should be also to teach information about Covid-19 and how to prevent its spread.
“This is also part of the curriculum so we do not think there is any problem. We have disclosed some guidelines and contacted schools suggesting not to practice any sports while using masks. We already issued all these recommendations to schools,” he concluded.
The instruction to local schools comes in line with the outcry in the mainland after the recent death of two students aged 14 and 15-years-old in the provinces of Hunan and Henan in Central China, which occurred in late April and early May. Both reportedly died from breathing problems while running with an N95 mask during a physical test.
Experts suggest there is no need for students in low-risk regions to wear masks when classes are held in broad and open spaces. The DSEJ seems to have adopted a different strategy, appealing to schools to swap all physical activities for others of a more intellectual kind, keeping the use of facemasks mandatory at all times inside school facilities.
Another of the measures implemented by some schools to avoid the transmission of Covid-19, according to Leong, is related to students’ meals.
According to Leong, schools have found different solutions for the issue with a number of them organizing the canteen in a way so that students will not be facing each other while eating.
“Some schools will also enforce rules such as students will all turn in one direction, facing the wall side during lunch,” Leong said, admitting that the DSEJ will not allow schools to provide hot meals from the school canteen during this period of pandemic outbreak.
“We have some strict rules on this topic. They cannot sell lunches [complete hot meals] in schools, they can only sell snacks, sandwiches, and similar pre-packed foods,” Leong said in response to the concerns of some parents about the fact that students, especially from primary school levels, would be deprived of proper meals when the classes resume on May 25 and June 1, for lower and higher primary levels respectively.
Leong acknowledged that the DSEJ is aware of some cases in which students might not be able to have their meals as they would expect, promising to communicate with schools to find a solution within the week.
He also noted that the current situation is a very special one, and he asked for parents’ understanding regarding the difficulties that institutions are facing in complying with the rules, while also trying as much as possible to provide children with lunch opportunities.

Categories Headlines Macau