Palau schools closing on Monday as part of COVID-19 preventive action

Palau flag
Flag of the Republic of Palau (PNC file photo)

Starting March 23 up to April 3 all schools in Palau will be closed as a precaution against the global COVID-19 outbreak, according to government officials. 

Following the announcement, the Palau Ministry of Education said it would start enforcing its ‘School Closure Contingency Plan.’

The plan includes the thorough clean-up and sanitation of all school facilities and the development of lesson plans to cover any missed school days. 

It also has a provision preparing the school system in case of a prolonged suspension of classes due to the coronavirus situation.  

The two-week school closure is part of Executive Order No. 437 signed by Palau President Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. earlier this week. The EO directs all government agencies to prevent and prepare for the entry of COVID-19 in Palau.

Social isolation

The President’s EO also supports the Ministry of Health’s Certification of Unavoidable Public Health Emergency that was issued this month. 

The government certification includes an order promoting ‘social isolation’ and self-quarantine. It also has a provision urging the public to avoid mass gatherings of fifty (50) or more people, including social, cultural, and sports events. 

As of March 20, several facilities have already been closed in compliance with the directive, such as the senior citizen center in Koror. While these facilities will be closed temporarily, the government said it will continue to operate essential services such as food delivery for the homebound senior citizens. 

Travel moratorium

Last week, Remengesau also signed a Presidential Directive that imposes a moratorium on government travel to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection in the Republic.

The directive suspends official government travel between March 18 to April 30, 2020.