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Ho Chi Minh City to pilot reopening classrooms on December 13

Ho Chi Minh City to pilot reopening classrooms on December 13

Friday, December 03, 2021, 13:55 GMT+7
Ho Chi Minh City to pilot reopening classrooms on December 13
This image shows staff at Le Quy Don Middle School in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City cleaning classrooms in preparation for receiving students back on December 13, 2021. Photo: Nhu Hung / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have decided to reopen schools for students of grades 1, 9 and 12 on a trial basis from December 13, according to a decision issued by the municipal administration on Wednesday.

The trial school resumption comes after a closure since late May, a month after the fourth and deadliest wave of COVID-19 infections erupted in Vietnam.

The reopening of in-person classes for the three grades will last for two weeks, while five-year-old kids may come back to school on December 27, according to the decision.

Particularly for Can Gio District, Thanh An Kindergarten, Thanh An Elementary School, and Thanh An Middle and High School will resume physical learning for all grades from December 13.

On the first day of school reopening, the schools will not organize teaching but will instead examine students’ health, direct them to make health declarations, and train them in epidemic prevention measures, the city’s Department of Education and Training said.

The starting, ending, and break time for grades at a school will be staggered to comply with the requirement on safe distances among students, according to the department.

After the trial period, a conference will be held to review the plan’s outcomes, based on which the education department will coordinate with the Department of Health to advise the municipal government about whether physical classes can be resumed for other grades in part of or the entire city from January 3, 2022.

The reopening of elementary and high schools will depend on the epidemic level of each locality, according to an official of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training.

Accordingly, localities with epidemic levels 1, 2, and 3, or low, medium, and high risk of COVID-19 transmission, will be allowed to open schools providing that they meet all epidemic prevention requirements, the official said.

If any students or teachers or school staff have COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing, and loss of taste or smell, they must stay at home, immediately inform the school management board, and go to a medical facility for examination and treatment, the department said.

Schools are required to hold meetings with parents for coordination measures, train teachers and other staff in COVID-19 prevention and control, and provide safety guidance for students.

From October 20, the city has piloted some face-to-face classes at the Thanh An elementary and middle schools in Can Gio District, which is considered as a low-risk area.

All educational institutions must complete epidemic prevention plans before December 3 and such plans must be approved by local steering committees for epidemic prevention and control before they can resume operations.

Reopening schools is a significant issue for a city of 1.7 million students like Ho Chi Minh City as many localities have become ‘green’ zones, or areas at low risk of COVID-19 infection, said chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Phan Van Mai.

Such reopening came amid the context that Ho Chi Minh City had basically completed full COVID-19 vaccination for children aged 12 to 17, with a population of 702,563, by the end of November, according to the Department of Health.

The city had also administered around eight million first vaccine doses and some 6.7 million second jabs to its adult population as of December 1, according to the national COVID-19 vaccination portal.  

However, the southern city remains the biggest COVID-19 epicenter in Vietnam, with 474,483 infections and over 18,000 deaths as of Thursday, according to the Ministry of Health.

City authorities reported 1,738 cases and 80 fatalities on Thursday. 

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Vinh Tho / Tuoi Tre News

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