Racing back to the classrooms

Racing back to the classrooms

Students hail school reopening after long absence prompted by pandemic, write Post reporters

Teachers conduct their online classes from a school in Samut Prakan on the first day of the new term on Monday. Schools in provinces most heavily affected by Covid-19 must resort to online teaching.  (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Teachers conduct their online classes from a school in Samut Prakan on the first day of the new term on Monday. Schools in provinces most heavily affected by Covid-19 must resort to online teaching. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Students were thrilled to go back to school on the first day of the 2021 academic year, after a long period of online learning at home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I've been waiting for so long to go back to school, and I'm very excited to see my friends again," said Kasikanta Pachart, a Grade 12 student at Montfort College in Chiang Mai.

Having spent the past three months studying at home, Kasikanta said she missed studying in a classroom since it gives her the opportunity to directly interact with teachers and friends -- although she understood there is a higher risk of Covid-19 transmission at school.

"I understand the need for social distancing, but for me and a lot of my friends, we much prefer studying at school," she said. "Nevertheless, we have to strictly follow social distancing measures, so we can get back to normal life as soon as possible."

A Mathayom 2 student at Chiang Mai University Demonstration School, Krittayot Tanraksa, said he also missed his school, adding online learning is not nearly as effective as studying in the classroom.

"There are many problems with online learning. Sometime there is a power outage, sometime there is a poor internet connection," he said. "We get more homework when studying at home, so I am very happy to go to school again."

Karantee Thongton, a Grade 12 student at Kajonkietsuksa International School, which reopened at the start of June, said the past two weeks have been a very good experience.

"I find myself studying better at school, because it is easier to focus on the lesson. When I don't understand something, I can interact with the teacher right away," Karantee said.

As the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over, she admitted that she was a little bit worried that she might contract the virus at school as many of her teachers and friends are foreigners.

However, she added, the strict Covid-19 prevention measures in place at her school have made her feel safe to return.

"I hope that we can keep up this momentum, so life can get back to normal soon," she added.

The manager of Saint Joseph Kalasin School, Thinnakorn Lualai, said his school is enforcing strict disease control measures to ensure the safety of its students and teachers.

"We have already planned beforehand .. and our students come to school on alternating days to help reduce crowding on school grounds," Mr Thinnakorn said.

Secretary-general of the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec), Amporn Pinasa said the overall situation on the first day of the new semester was generally satisfactory, with about 15,000 schools across the country -- except in four high-risk provinces, namely Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan -- reopening on Monday.

"On the first day of the term, we urge every school to choose the most appropriate teaching methods by considering the safety of their students, teachers and their family members as the first priority," Mr Amporn said.

"We cannot tell how long will we be able to keep the schools open for education considering the current Covid-19 situation, but the most important thing is that the teachers must adapt to the situation and find the most suitable teaching method to ensure a fun and safe learning experience for the students," he added.

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