Seventy percent of parents of first graders in Ho Chi Minh City would not let their children switch from current virtual classes to physical learning next week as planned by local authorities, according to a recent survey.
Almost 30 percent of parents of first graders said yes to the city’s plan to reopen in-person classes for their kids on December 13 amid surging COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks, said the survey conducted by the municipal Department of Education and Training at 565 elementary schools in the city.
Among 121,759 parents of first graders, or 92.8 percent of the total number of parents of this grade, taking part in the survey, only 36,316 gave a nod to the scheme while the rest expressed their disagreement.
First graders, who have not yet been vaccinated against the coronavirus, can get infected with the disease outside the home and then transmit the pathogen to other members in their families, especially those with underlying health conditions, parents who are against this plan explained.
Such students at their ages can be at risk of infection as they cannot have full awareness of epidemic prevention like adults, they added.
They also said they need time to further observe the pandemic’s developments before allowing their kids to shift from ongoing online classes to face-to-face learning.
According to the scheme, which was unveiled on December 1, all first, sixth, and 12th graders will be allowed to attend offline classes again after a closure since late May, a month after the fourth and deadliest wave of COVID-19 infections erupted in Vietnam.
Overwhelmingly high rates of opposition to the plan have been recorded in many elementary schools in the inner city, such as Tran Quang Dieu, Tran Van Dang and Dien Bien, among others.
No respondents at two private elementary schools, one in District 3 and the other in District 6, threw their support behind the plan.
Even at schools located in localities with effective control of COVID-19 such as Cu Chi and Can Gio Districts, most parents disagreed with sending their first-grade kids back to school in the current context.
The management boards of many elementary schools said they are facing difficulties in the implementation of the plan due to such objection from parents.
Besides reorganizing face-to-face classes, schools said they would have to arrange teachers for virtual classes for students whose parents have yet to agree to send their kids to the physical classroom again.
Over the weekend, many schools held meetings with parents to prepare for the offline learning program.
During the first week of in-person learning, some schools will conduct three sessions only, while English lessons will still be taught online as at present.
Such school 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 over 702,563, by the end of November, according to the city’s Department of Health.
The city of nine million people had also administered around 8.02 million first vaccine doses and some 6.79 million second jabs to its adult population by December 5, according to the national COVID-19 vaccination portal.
However, the southern city remains the biggest COVID-19 epicenter in Vietnam, with 478,923 infections and over 18,000 deaths as of Sunday, according to the Ministry of Health.
City health authorities reported 1,491 cases and 69 fatalities on Sunday.