July 1 new term start confirmed
Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan on Thursday confirmed that the reopening of all state schools for the new academic year will take place on July 1 although students at some schools may still not be able to attend class in person.
Speaking after a video conference meeting with executives of Educational Service Areas nationwide, Mr Nataphol said his ministry estimated that by July 1 the Covid-19 situation in Thailand will improve to the point that students in some areas can return to school.
"We believe that, by July, students in some areas will be able to attend classes, however the schools and students will still have to strictly follow the ministry's guidelines such as wearing masks, washing hands frequently and there must be distancing between students," the minister said.
Mr Nataphol said the schools will have to set up a station for body temperature screening and clean their premises frequently, adding that there is also a possibility that the number of students per class will be reduced and some outdoor activities will be banned in order to eliminate the chance of virus transmission.
"Each school will assess the risk in their areas if it's safe enough to conduct face-to-face teaching and report to the ministry," he said.
"If by July the situation in their locations has not improved, a system of long-distance learning will be introduced instead," Mr Nataphol added.
Mr Nataphol said the ministry has already prepared two solutions, distance-learning TV (DLTV) programmes and online learning for schools that may not be able to fully reopen.
The problem with DLTV is that it's a one-way communication and about 10% of schools in the country do not have TVs, he said.
Meanwhile, online learning is a two-way communication approach, however this method will only be introduced for secondary students.