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Vietnamese students flock home amid COVID-19 concern

Sunday, December 06, 2020, 11:05 GMT+7
Vietnamese students flock home amid COVID-19 concern
Minh Khanh (middle), a student from the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HUTECH), takes advantage of online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic to visit his home in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre

After some universities in Ho Chi Minh City have shifted to online learning because of recent COVID-19 positive cases, many migrant students have decided to return to their hometown to avoid transmission risks.

As of Thursday, more than 10 universities in the city had let their students to stay home until the end of this week or announced the opening of online classes in one or two weeks.

Most of them have students considered direct or indirect contacts of three confirmed COVID-19 patients 1,342, 1,347, and 1,349.

Classes go online

On Thursday morning, a group of first-year students from some universities in Thu Duc District caught a coach to come back to their hometown.

Being allowed to leave school until the end of this week and wait for further notice, many students decided to go home to avoid transmission risks.

According to Dr. Tran Tien Khoa, president of Ho Chi Minh City International University under the Vietnam National University, his students were asked on Thursday afternoon to have two days off this week and continue learning online in the next two weeks.

The university’s midterm tests, which are scheduled for next week, will be delayed given the ongoing complicated developments of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The next two weeks of online learning will apply mainly to theoretical classes while practical ones take place normally with better safety measures, so the students who chose to return home are mostly ones living near Ho Chi Minh City,” said Dr. Khoa.

At the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HUTECH), vice-president Dr. Nguyen Quoc Anh told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that his students were told to leave from the evening of Wednesday and warned against moving around.

“Pursuant to the current notice from the university, students will be allowed to skip classes for only six days. So, it is unlikely that many would choose to come back to their hometown,” he remarked.

Travel restriction warning

According Van Chi Nam, vice-director of the Information Technology Division of the University of Science under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City, theoretical classes will become virtually while practical ones will take place normally with students required to sit far apart.

Some IT subjects that have already gone virtually will continue as usual.

“Students are still required to be present at school. Learning online during this time may be just temporary because the current situation is not too complicated. Normal classes may resume next week,” Nam said.

“Some students had intended to go back home. But after being advised by lecturers and student assistance groups, they decided to stay.”

Dr. Le Trung Dao, vice-president of University of Finance – Marketing in Ho Chi Minh City, said his students were permitted to leave four days from Wednesday.

Many students planned to return home as they thought their classes would go online. However, there has been no such notice to date.

“We asked departments and youth associations to advise students not to leave the city at the moment without any urgent need, while strictly following COVID-19 prevention measures,” Dr. Dao said.

As for the Ho Chi Minh City International University, Dr. Khoa said the university has warned its students against moving from areas having confirmed coronavirus cases to other places to prevent the spread of the pathogen.

Five students of Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy put in quarantine

Nguyen Trung Kien, president of the Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy in the namesake city in the Mekong Delta, said on Thursday that five students had been required to quarantine at home after visiting places at the same time as confirmed infection cases in Ho Chi Minh City.

On November 25-27, the students came to the Ho Chi Minh City University of Education, which was visited by a COVID-19 patient.

They also had lunch at a restaurant in Van Hanh Mall, where patient 1,347 was present at a coffee shop on the ground floor.

The five students were allowed to skip school and quarantine at home.

They are requested to report health conditions, including body temperature checks, to the university’s COVID-19 prevention and control team every day.

All direct contacts of recent local coronavirus cases in Ho Chi Minh City have tested negative once and are now still in quarantine in line with regulations.

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