Masks and hand washing will be required at Papua New Guinea schools when classes resume next week.
By then, primary and secondary schools will have been closed to PNG students for six weeks since the government declared a State of Emergency over Covid-19.
Department of Education secretary Uke Kombra issued the directive for masks on 24 April in a 'circular instruction'.
It said as part of Covid-19 prevention measures, staff and students needed to wear masks of a type "approved by the Department of Health".
Attendance at school, however, was not compulsory.
"Parents are allowed to make a decision to keep their children at home if they think it is unsafe for them to go to school," the circular said.
It also instructed schools to have "hand sanitisers and or hand basins with soap" at points of entry.
"Every person who enters the school MUST have his/her hands sanitised or wash their hands for 20 seconds."
Hand washing must also take place at recess, lunch "and before teachers and students go home".
The circular included two options for hand washing facilities that schools could install, costing between $US900 and $US4000. The options needed to be connected to the "main water supply".
Education minister Joseph Yopyyopy could not be reached for comment but he told Loop PNG this week the hand washing facilities could be funded through $US15 million released to schools earlier this month.
Students to be physically distanced
As part of "the new normal" for PNG schools, the circular advised that student desks be spaced by one metre "where possible".
Other "strict measures" should be imposed to maintain social distancing, including the suspension of assemblies, sports and physical education.
Meals in dining halls should also be avoided "and instead served in take away packs"
For "huge classes" shift teaching can be considered with approval from education authorities. On this point, the minister elaborated to that the school day could perhaps be broken into two shifts, from 8am to 1pm and 2pm "until the end of the day".
The circular also requires schools to establish a room in which to isolate staff or students who become sick but it notes, "schools must be very thoughtful and careful in handling any such case".
Anyone who has a flu, cold or fever must not enter their school and "schools are encouraged to buy and use temperature guns".