Cambodia launches nationwide back to school campaign to promote safe COVID-19 behavior

Students sit in a classroom at the Chaktomouk Primary School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Jan. (Photo: Xinhua)

PHNOM PENH-- Cambodia, supported by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), on Monday launched a national back to school campaign to encourage children to return to classrooms while practicing safe behavior to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As the new school year starts, and with COVID-19 still a global challenge, this campaign will be crucial in making school environments as safe as possible, said a joint press statement.

The campaign also aims to reach those families and children whose education has been most disrupted by the pandemic, encouraging them to prioritize learning despite the challenges, the statement said.

The campaign is themed "Act Now" and will reinforce proven safe behaviors around COVID-19, as well as other cross cutting messages to make schools safe, healthy and a flourishing environment for children.

These messages are captured in creative videos, posters, radio spots, and text messages that will be broadcast across the country, it said, adding that some materials, such as flyers and games, will be printed for children to take home, ensuring the messages engage families and communities in fun and playful ways.

In addition, an illustrated booklet for teachers and school principals featuring safety guidelines, checklists and tips has already been produced and delivered to all 16,500 schools so that teachers can start the new school year fully prepared.

"Our priority throughout the pandemic has been keeping children safe, while also doing all possible to maintain their education," Hang Chuon Naron, minister of education, youth and sports, said in the statement.

"We're proud of the Cambodian government's efforts in keeping infections amongst the lowest in the world, while also ensuring distance learning was available for all students," he said. 

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