Schools throughout the country are to be disinfected before the start of the new semester tomorrow, as part of the government’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) said yesterday.
As of Saturday, 87 percent of the disinfection work had been done at schools offering kindergarten to grade 12 (K-12), and by yesterday evening that figure would have risen to 99 percent, it said.
After that, only some schools in Taitung County and on the outlying islands would be left, but that work would be done today, the agency said.
The start of the spring semester was postponed for two weeks, with the reopening of K-12 schools postponed until tomorrow and most universities due to open on Monday next week, as the government stepped up its COVID-19 prevention efforts.
Meanwhile, pediatricians in Taipei and Changhua County on Saturday were asked to give personal hygiene advice to students preparing to return to school.
Children often forget to wash their hands after touching handrails, elevator buttons or other surfaces, said Tai Chi-shan (戴季珊), a pediatrician at Taipei’s Shu Tien clinic.
They could be infected by scratching their noses, rubbing their eyes or eating with unwashed hands, she said.
Some people only wet their hands when they wash them, she said, adding that they should use soap and scrub for at least 30 seconds before rinsing and drying their hands to effectively clean them.
A person’s hands should also be washed before putting on a surgical mask, she added.
The mask should cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly, she said, adding that when removing a mask, a person should hold on to the ear loops and turn the mask inside out before tossing it into a trashcan and washing their hands.
Maintaining a regular schedule, balanced diet and exercise can all help to boost the immune system, she added.
Separately, Changhua Christian Hospital pediatric neurologist Chang Tung-ming (張通銘) said that besides washing their hands regularly, people could prevent infections by disinfecting their jackets.
Jackets come into direct contact with the environment, but are typically not washed every day, he said.
Thus, when students return home from school, they should remove their jackets at the entrance and spray them with rubbing alcohol before hanging them in a well-ventilated space, such as a balcony, for about two hours before wearing them the next day, he said.
As for school uniforms and gym clothes, which are washed every day, students should change out of them — and place them in a laundry basket — as soon as they return home, he said.
Everyone should do the same while epidemic prevention efforts are ongoing, he said.
To prevent bacteria and viruses from being brought into the home, clothes that are not washed daily should be sprayed with disinfectant and hung in a well-ventilated area, while clothes that are should be changed as soon as a person enters their home, he said.
Additional reporting by CNA
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