Classes resume but anxious ministry keeps close watch

Classes resume but anxious ministry keeps close watch

A student attends a class as Intarumphun Anusorn School in Muang district of Samut Prakan and other schools around the country resume normal working hours on Thursday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
A student attends a class as Intarumphun Anusorn School in Muang district of Samut Prakan and other schools around the country resume normal working hours on Thursday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

Schools around the country resumed normal working hours on Thursday, the first time a full schedule of classes has been held this term.

Students must keep a record of where they have been after school and hand it in to their teachers the following morning as a compulsory measure against Covid-19. The education ministry has instructed schools to collect those reports every school day.

Despite the country being free of local Covid-19  transmissions for more than 70 days and schools now operating as normal, the government says it is not taking any chances and has continued implementing strict measures to prevent a resurgence of the disease.

The focus is on keeping schools free of Covid-19 instead of becoming hotbeds for the virus, as has been the case in some countries. 

Schools have maintained public health surveillance regulations in their premises, including temperature checks of students and visitors.

Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said schools were still learning how to best deal with the outbreak and should a second wave of infections occur, they could always return to the "new normal" routine they introduced recently.

The routine, adopted before the normal schedules were resumed yesterday, involved splitting classes and each group of students going to school on alternate days or weeks. 

Mr Nataphol said if a second Covid-19 wave struck, classes with infected students would be closed first and the duration of the closures would be determined by local education ministry offices.

He said the ministry would update its assessment of school hours and classes every 5, 7, 10 and 14 days. Schools would be evaluated by their record against the coronavirus.

Regarding schools located on the northern border, the ministry has opened quarantine facilities for children from Myanmar and Laos who regularly cross into Thailand to study. 

Many of those students live with their relatives in Thailand during the week and cross back over the border to return to their families at the weekend. 

However, ever since this term started late, on July 1, they have been subject to the standard 14-day quarantine and have since remained in Thailand  

In Bangkok, City Clerk Silpasuay Raweesangsoon said City Hall had formed a group to inspect schools run by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration since the resumption of normal classes.

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A student attends a class as Intarumphun Anusorn School in Muang district of Samut Prakan and most schools across the country resume normal working hours on Thursday. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)


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