Many schools all around Thailand have resumed on-site classes for their students, although most are not opting for 100% on-site learning and are still making use of online classes to reduce congestion and crowding.
In Songkhla, Hat Yai Wittayalai School resumed on-site learning for the first day under strict COVID-19 prevention measures. 100% of students, teachers and personnel on school grounds are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid and present evidence of a negative ATK test result issued by a healthcare facility. The school is currently holding classes under a mixed onsite and online format, with each grade level being assigned specific days for students to come to school. Parents are being asked to prepare lunch and water for their children instead of having them eat from the school canteen.
The director of Hat Yai Wittayalai School said the school passed an evaluation by Songkhla’s provincial communicable diseases committee before it was allowed to resume on-site classes. Parents have also been informed in writing about the learning format and the Covid prevention measures being implemented by the school, ahead of their decision to allow their children to come to physical classes.
Students at Yupparaj Wittayalai School in Chiang Mai have returned to the physical classroom for the first time since mid-2021. The students follow the current prevention measures as wearing face masks, getting their temperatures checked and sanitizing their hands with alcohol gel.
On-site classes have resumed only for students at the Mathayom 1-5 levels, who will take turns coming to school so that only 30% of the student body is physically present each day. Classes for those in Mathayom 6 level are still held fully online, although they are also being provided with supplemental classes to prepare them for admission at the tertiary education level.
According to the World Bank’s Global Education Director Jaime Saavedr there is no justification now for keeping schools closed in view of the pandemic and even if there are new waves, closing schools should be the last resort .
Saavedra, whose team has been tracking the impact of Covid-19 on the education sector, says there is no evidence that reopening schools has caused a surge in coronavirus cases and that schools are not a ‘safe place’.
He also asserted that it does not make sense from a public-policy perspective to wait till children are vaccinated as there is ‘no science’ behind it.