Lao Government Advises Heat Safety Measures for Schools Amid Sweltering Temperatures

Lao Government Advises Heat Safety Measures for Schools Amid Sweltering Temperatures
FILE: Lao students gather outside to salute the national flag (photo: TARGET Magazine)

As the extreme heat from the sun shines upon Southeast Asia, many countries in the area have been heavily affected by the sweltering temperature, and Laos, with the daily thermometer reading at 40 degrees Celsius, is no exception. To safeguard Lao students from heat-related risks, the government has introduced new measures.

A recent notice from the Ministry of Education and Sports, issued on 25 April, outlines regulations for educational institutions in Vientiane Capital. Institutions, particularly those lacking adequate cooling systems, are urged to consider canceling classes, rescheduling outdoor activities, and arranging compensation lessons.

The regulations came as a strategy to mitigate health risks among students, particularly those in kindergarten and primary grades. Excessive exposure to heat could lead to potentially hideous symptoms, such as dehydration, heart disease, poor circulation, and sunburn.

Apart from the continuous hot weather, the government also raised concern about the poor Air Quality Index (AQI), which has recently been capped at an unhealthy level nationwide, and encouraged schools to promote N95 mask-wearing to teachers, students, and other educational employees. Should the AQI level rise too high, each institution has the responsibility to formulate an appropriate approach to tackle the situation.

Additional measurements from the ministry regarding air pollution include avoiding garbage burning, managing types of trash, and planting more trees. 

Social media reactions to the new rules have been in positive unison, arguing that the decision not only protects the health of children but that of teachers as well. 

“I absolutely agree with this decision,” said a Facebook user. “Some institutions still have students gather outdoors before school’s finished,” they added, indicating that some academies still neglect the issue of hot weather.

“I think the Ministry of Education and Sports should take it upon themselves and start installing fans for disadvantaged schools, as well, to intensify their seriousness in this matter,” said another user.

Despite the government’s efforts, the heat gripping Vientiane shows no signs of relenting anytime soon., as the latest forecast shows that Vientiane will remain a heavily boiling province for the week, with the highest temperature from 25 to 28 April forecast to be around 40–43 degrees Celsius.