The People’s Committee of Hanoi has decided to let students in certain grades in 18 districts and towns return to in-person classes next Monday, having carefully considered COVID-19 developments in each locale.
The permitted returnees include fifth, sixth, ninth, tenth, and 12th graders in low- and medium-risk areas while other graders in the same neighborhood and students in other areas will stick to the online learning mode.
Teaching and learning activities for kindergarteners will remain suspended.
Eighteen out of 30 districts and towns in Hanoi considered as low-risk and medium-risk areas, labeled Level 1 and 2 in the country’s four-level COVID-19 risk assessment scale, are Ba Vi, Chuong My, Dan Phuong, Gia Lam, Hoai Duc, Me Linh, My Duc, Phu Xuyen, Phuc Tho, Soc Son, Son Tay, Thach That, Thanh Oai, Quoc Oai, Thuong Tin, Ung Hoa, Thanh Tri, and Dong Anh.
Staff at schools across those 18 outlying districts and towns have prepared for their reopening since last month, over five months after city authorities ordered the shutdown of educational facilities for pandemic prevention and control on May 4.
“There have been a few outbreaks, so we’ve been familiar with the preparations for COVID-19 prevention,” said a leader of Vong La Middle School in Dong Anh District.
The Hanoi Department of Education and Training issued a set of 16 criteria to assess the level of safety against COVID-19 at schools on October 29.
Facilities that meet only seven or fewer criteria will be forced to close.
The district-level education authorities are expected to complete evaluating school safety levels this week.
In addition, only teachers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be eligible for face-to-face teaching, whereas others must continue running online classes, according to the local education authorities’ regulations.
Currently, 62 percent of administrative officers, teachers, and school staff in Hanoi have received two injections while more than 98 percent have got the first shots.
Hanoi authorities also plan to vaccinate over 95 percent of local children aged 12 to 17 from the remaining months of this year to the end of the first quarter of 2022, with those from 16 to 17 years old getting the shots first.
The capital city, whose population is over eight million, has recorded 4,824 local infections since the fourth coronavirus wave flared up in Vietnam on April 27.
Over six million people of the city have received the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, with nearly four million of them fully vaccinated, according to the national COVID-19 vaccination portal.
Vietnam has found 939,463 infections since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit it early last year and 934,583 community transmissions in 62 out of its 63 provinces and cities since the fourth virus wave broke out.
More than 25.6 million people of the 98 million population in the Southeast Asian country have been fully inoculated against the coronavirus.
The central government has relaxed pandemic control curbs over the past few weeks as transmissions have slowed down, due partly to larger vaccine coverage.