Since the start of the 2nd lockdown in Laos on 22nd April 2021, Tetra Tech Teams in Laos from the BEQUAL program have renewed their efforts to find creative ways to continue the delivery of the activities while working online and promoting safe workplace practices.
BEQUAL was able to draw on the experience and lessons learned from the six week lock down in 2020 which led to initiatives like the blended learning pilot for teacher trainers or the training and provision of video conference equipment to MoES and to eight Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) in the provinces. This ensures on-going collaboration of the Ministry at the central and sub-national levels while working remotely. The lessons from the blended learning pilot are now informing the design of the training for the sixty Master Trainers, using a blended online/ in person approach. This will allow Vientiane based trainers join in person and provincially based trainers online.
After nearly seven weeks of lock down, BEQUAL teams are preparing for a safe return to work once lock down restrictions are eased. Return to office guidelines have been adjusted to incorporate new information regarding the virus’ spread by aerosols and how to prevent infection in the office. Information and proper training are key to ensure people understand how the virus spreads and how to protect themselves and their co-workers. During the virtual kitchen catch up meeting training was provided on understanding what aerosols are, how they spread and what this means for our behaviour in the workplace.
In collaboration, the Comms team and the Teacher Education team, dubbed and sub-titled a freely available information video on aerosol spreading in Lao language. The video was shown during the virtual kitchen catch up and supported by a presentation reinforcing the message around essential prevention measures such as wearing masks, regular handwashing with soap or gel, room ventilation, social distancing and getting vaccinated. A fun quiz to test everyone’s knowledge on COVID-19 and a live demonstration on how to put on and wear a mask properly kept everyone engaged throughout the session. The video and the presentation will also be used at the beginning of every workshop with Ministry counterparts to educate on COVID-19 and promote safe practice.
To keep everyone safe in the offices, the Operations Team has been very busy purchasing standing fans, FFP2 masks and hand sanitizer; re-arranging the office to allow safe distance, and creating a staff roster plan to create two teams which do not meet in the office. Management updated the “Return to Office” guidelines to ensure safe behaviour and incorporate latest knowledge about aerosol spreading.
Vaccination is also extremely important to prevent COVID-19. BEQUAL supported the Ministry of Education and Sports’ vaccination campaign with the provision of masks and hand sanitizer; during the campaign hundreds of MoES staff got vaccinated. In order to further promote vaccination amongst BEQUAL and our MoES colleagues, the Communications team is producing T-shirts “Fully COVID-19 vaccinated, for me, for you for all” that will be distributed to the first 300 staff in MoES (and BEQUAL) with full vaccination. Having integrated Gender & Inclusive Education best practices in the procurement process, the T-shirts are produced by a company owned by and employing people with disabilities.
BEQUAL Teams are staying safe and healthy!