Schools to reopen with limits
The Education Ministry has announced its two-phase plan to reopen schools while still imposing strict Covid-19 measures.
The first phase is for boarding schools that have already implemented measures for creating a Covid-19 safety zone on their grounds since August. The second phase is for other schools that pass a formal Covid-19 assessment on their readiness to reopen. Assessments began this month, according to the ministry.
Key requirements for passing the evaluation are at least 85% vaccination against Covid-19 among school teachers and staff and a commitment to comply with the government's standard Covid-19 control measures.
These schools, however, are allowed to decide on their own if they want to fully switch to onsite learning, stay with online learning or adopt a combination of both where appropriate.
In the case of onsite learning, the maximum number of students per classroom is 25. Each student is required to keep at least 1.5 metres apart from others while in the same room.
Thatsani Buranupakon, a Pheu Thai Party MP for Chiang Mai, meanwhile, urged the government to speed up refunding students for tuition fees from past terms when they were forced to study online. She also called on the government to supply schools and universities with mRNA Covid-19 vaccines, saying the vaccination rate among students was rather low making it difficult to reopen schools.
Ms Thatsani said that the low vaccination rates were due to many students and their parents not having confidence in the types of vaccines offered by the government. The vaccination rate of Chiang Mai University students, for instance, was as low as 30% while the minimum rate of Covid-19 vaccination required upon reopening is 70%, she said.
Of the about 5 million students who agreed to have the vaccine, 3.6 million have been vaccinated, or about 71.67%, said Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong, citing data from yesterday.