Khmer Times has been investigating the installation of disinfection chambers across Australian Centre for Education ACE) campuses that go against direct guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The chambers are reported to have been installed to make the campus appear “cleaner” for local authorities during upcoming inspections.
Khmer Times was alerted to the practice occurring at the English language school this month after several videos were posted on social media.
The videos showed teachers having to stand in the chambers for around five seconds before they can enter their workplace.
WHO, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Cambodia told Khmer Times that, “Spraying individuals with disinfectants (such as in a tunnel, cabinet or chamber) is not recommended under any circumstances. This could be physically and psychologically harmful and would not reduce an infected person’s ability to spread the virus through droplets or contact.
“Moreover, spraying individuals with chlorine and other toxic chemicals could result in eye and skin irritation, bronchospasm from inhalation and gastrointestinal effects such as nausea and vomiting.”
ACE responded by saying, “as part of our preparation for reopening we are in the process of reviewing and enhancing our safety measures for the inspection.”
“This includes installing a box with a humidifying machine at our entrances in addition to the other hygiene and social distancing measures we have already put in place in our buildings,” ACE, Campus Manager Thida Sok said.
“Should some of our planned measures be considered ineffective or unnecessary then we would not have to use them, hence saving us money,” she added.
Khmer Times reached out to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) on the recommended guidelines for school health measures and was told that schools needed to maintain safety gaps, take individual temperatures and wash hands regularly.
“The educational institution must be responsible for the implementation of educational health safety measures as set by the MoEYS, the Ministry of Health and the WHO,” ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said. Schools and classrooms should conform to safety standards by maintaining social distancing, taking individual temperature measurements and washing hands regularly.”
Prime Minister Hun Sen said this month that the government is in the process of reopening schools in three stages.
He said the first stage will be to reopen the higher-standard schools. Medium-standard schools will be next and finally minimum-standard schools will reopen.
However, no set timeline has been formally announced.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.