Students happy to go to class -- for a change

Students happy to go to class -- for a change

Those near Samut Sakhon are still having to make do online

A boy raises his hand for a temperature check at Wat Nong Khaem School in the capital. Pattarapong Chatpattarasill
A boy raises his hand for a temperature check at Wat Nong Khaem School in the capital. Pattarapong Chatpattarasill

Pupils returned to schools across Bangkok on Monday although not everyone was allowed to reunite with friends and colleagues.

The surge in Covid-19 infections in Bangkok at the end of last year forced classes online as the city descended into a partial lockdown.

The infection rate has since improved, even though the city has clocked up a high recent tally of cases.

For once, after becoming bored of being stuck at home, many students could not have been happier to return to school.

However, for some pupils and staff in Bang Khunthian, Bang Bon and Nong Khaem districts bordering Samut Sakhon, the epicentre of the second Covid-19 outbreak, the wait isn't over yet.

Nong Khaem district chief Komin Chinbut said it was still a highly controlled area, given its proximity to Samut Sakhon.

Students enrolled in the three Bangkok districts, who live in Samut Sakhon or whose parents or members of the household work there, have been told to continue studying from home until further notice.

Sompong Wiangkaew, adviser to Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang, toured schools on the first day of reopening on Monday. He also visited Wat Nong Khaem School in Nong Khaem district, which has more than 2,000 students in kindergarten and primary education, but where a quarter were also told to stay at home.

Nong Khaem is adjacent to Krathum Baen district in Samut Sakhon and although far from Muang district, which is where the outbreak emerged, officials are taking all the necessary precautions to ward off new infections.

Wat Nong Khaem School director Piromsak Kitpattanasombat said that after 10 students living in Muang district, Samut Sakhon tested positive for Covid-19, a further 490 living nearby or with family links to the district were also asked to wait a little longer before attending lessons again.

"So, online classes will continue to be conducted for these students to build confidence and maintain efficient virus containment measures," Mr Piromsak said.

The school director added that extra classes wee being arranged for all students after complaints by parents that online learning was proving inadequate and their children had fallen behind in their studies.

However, he said extra classes needed to be held at the premises and would be arranged after the situation stabilised.

It was a similar situation for 1,088 students at Watsrinualthammawimol School, also in Nong Khaem district, according to its director, Jamroen Janpen.

Twenty-six teachers living in Samut Sakhon have been assigned to take online classes and the school has launched a dedicated website for students to access and review educational material.

"But nothing beats the face-to-face company of friends," said Pattarawadee Salikarin, 14, a Mathayom 2 student at Watsrinualthammawimol School.

In the past month, she said she kept in touch with four to five close friends via Facebook Messenger and Line.

"It's nice to be able to hear their voices from time to time," she said.

Ae, a Mathayom 2 (grade 8) student at a school in Bangkok, said online classes tended to work more effectively for students who excelled academically and had access to strong Wi-fi connections. He also noted that lessons were often condensed to fit the online format, which made it hard for many students to follow.

However, he added with a smile, some of his friends preferred online learning as they didn't have to get up early or make the long commute to and from school.

Do you like the content of this article?