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Officials consider full reopening of schools

This July 1 photo shows students at Prachaniwet School in Bangkok's Chatuchak district observing social distancing. Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

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The Public Health and Education ministries are looking to restore normal classroom operations as no new Covid-19 transmissions have been recorded since the beginning of the new term almost a month ago.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said it had authorised the Department of Disease Control to work with the Education Ministry to assess the situation in schools nationwide since most campuses reopened on July 1.

The assessment found that all schools and other educational institutions had so far been free of Covid-19 infections.

It also showed that young people face a lower risk of contracting Covid-19. In Thailand, those aged less than nine years old make up 1.9% of all Covid-19 patients, while those aged 10 to 19 account for 3.8% of infected people.

Dr Taweesilp said there had been no clusters of transmissions in either group. 

However, infected children who exhibit little or no symptoms can still pass the disease on to adults at home.

Schools with large classrooms have made special arrangements around the pandemic, splitting classes into two groups.

One was students studying for five days in a row at school, the other being those learning via the internet at home. After one week, the two groups switched.

Dr Taweesilp, however, said the special arrangement was flawed because poor students had limited access to adequate computer hardware and software needed for online learning.

He also said poor students could not take advantage of the school lunch programme while studying at home.

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Vocabulary:

campus (noun): the buildings of a university, college or business and the land around them - พื้นที่ที่เป็นที่ตั้งของมหาวิทยาลัย

cluster : group of people, animals or things close together - กลุ่ม

contract  : to become infected with a disease - ติดเชื้อ

flawed : spoiled by something - มีข้อบกพร่อง

pandemic : a disease that affects almost everyone in a very large area - โรคที่มีการแพร่กระจายหรือระบาดไปทั่ว

switch : to change - เปลี่ยน

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