The Ministry of Education (MOE) has just issued guidance on how to better protect and support teachers during the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The guidance demands strong measures be implemented to ensure the health and safety of teachers, especially those returning to work. Mass gatherings have been banned, including off-line teacher training and large-scale teacher seminars and conferences.
The guidance also calls for support to be provided to teachers to facilitate their work. Specialists and experts in the field of medical science and healthcare have been encouraged to conduct related research to discover ways to prevent and control the spread of COVID-19. Incentives have been recommended for teachers who make direct and remarkable contributions to combat the virus, especially those working in medical schools and hospitals affiliated to higher educational institutions.
In the case of local education-related government bodies and schools, the guidance requests them to provide clear instructions to teachers to help them adapt to these new circumstances, and to enable them to better disseminate health and self-protection advice to students and provide them with appropriate psychological assistance.
Finally, the guidance includes instructions on how to help students study from home during the epidemic. Local government education bodies and schools have been tasked with producing feasible and practical plans to enable on-line teaching. The guidance also warns schools that these measures should not lead to an increase in workload for teachers by requiring them to commence teaching ahead of schedule, beyond their established remits or outside established syllabi. Online teaching, student counselling and remote marking were to be taken into account in measuring teacher workload and evaluating performance. In addition, the guidance requires proper support to be provided to teachers to help them acquire the necessary ICT skills and training to enable them to work remotely.
A number of special support policies have also been implemented for teachers working in the most severely affected regions.