Talks on Monday could see school term postponed

Talks on Monday could see school term postponed

City Hall officials look at a new field hospital at Bangkok Arena in Nong Chok district on Sunday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)
City Hall officials look at a new field hospital at Bangkok Arena in Nong Chok district on Sunday. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

The new school term, which is scheduled to begin next month, may be deferred to June due to the worsening Covid-19 situation.

Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong said she would discuss the matter on Monday with permanent-secretary for education Supat Jampathong and Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec) secretary-general Amporn Pinasa.

The Covid-19 situation and its impact on schools and students would continue to be assessed until April 30, to see whether it is still possible to start the new school term in May as planned, said Ms Treenuch, but if it is found to be impossible the new term may be postponed to June 1.

The minister said the likely delay would only be imposed once several factors had been taken into account, including contingency plans which each educational authority has put in place to cope with difficulties in arranging in-person classes during the outbreak.

"Opinions from all sides, especially ones from educational service area offices that directly supervise schools and from provincial education committees, will be compiled," she said.

However, the minister said she did not expect every school to have to fully move classes online, following reports that many parents and students around the country are concerned about the need to do so.

Certain schools now appear ready to ensure strict Covid-19 control measures if and when they are allowed to reopen, which means they shouldn't have to fully shift to online learning, she said.

Those schools that cannot guarantee adequate social distancing at school will, however, probably have to conduct classes online instead, said Ms Treenuch.

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, chief of the Department of Disease Control (DDC), had previously revealed that two foreign teachers had contracted Covid-19 and ended up infecting at least 30 other people at a private school in the Bang Phli district of Samut Prakan.

Of the 30 infections, two were other foreign teachers, one was a Thai teacher, 23 were students and four were family members of some of the infected students, said the doctor.

Meanwhile, Horwang School in Bangkok has closed its music building for 14 days so it can be disinfected and so those who were in close contact on April 9-11 with Khemchat Chan-akson, an infected part-time music teacher, can self-quarantine.

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