Schools gear up to reopen nationally

Schools gear up to reopen nationally

A member of staff at Or-ngern School in Bangkok’s Sai Mai district cleans student cubicles. Plastic see-through partitions have been installed on tables in the cafeteria to keep students distanced from one another. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
A member of staff at Or-ngern School in Bangkok’s Sai Mai district cleans student cubicles. Plastic see-through partitions have been installed on tables in the cafeteria to keep students distanced from one another. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Education Ministry and schools are gearing up in preparation for schools to reopen nationally after the ministry's surveys found 60-70% of students are not ready to use television as the main channel for their studies.

Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said the ministry adjusted its previous plan from airing lessons via television for long distance learning as part of measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

However, the survey found most students consume media via their smartphones which can be costly.

Measures following a recommendation by the Ministry of Public Health will be taken, including a limit of 20 to 25 students per classroom.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) as well as the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) praised Thailand's preparation for reopening schools.

Mr Nataphol rebutted a report there would be regulations on which style of face masks students would be allowed to use, saying sanitary and protection measures were the focus.

His comment came after criticism in social media towards a picture of a bulletin board at a school which showed plain-coloured face masks as examples of masks which students would be allowed to use once the school was reopened.

Meanwhile, Bangkok deputy governor Sopon Pisuttiwong said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is studying models from countries such as Denmark and France, where schools have opened, to find suitable measures for Thai schools to reopen from July 1.

The current thinking is that schools under the BMA would be required to keep students, as well as their desks, 1-2 metres apart, he said.

"Students will be allowed to play only in small groups and they must wash their hands every hour or more often," he said.

"Desks, doorknobs, and playgrounds as [infected-prone] risky areas will be cleaned twice a day.

"Students will not be allowed to eat together. A sick student must go home straight away and enter self-quarantine," he said.

He added that students would not be allowed to borrow anything from friends and no parents would be allowed to enter schools.


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