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Thai schools get leeway on July reopenings

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Archive: Thai students line up in a school during the first day of school at Anuban Wat Phichaisongkhram school, on outskirt of Bangkok, Thailand, May 16, 2019. (Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak)

BANGKOK (Bangkok Post) – As the COVID-19 situation in Thailand appears to have been brought under control for now, the Office of Basic Education Commission (Obec) has decided to let each school decide whether they should reopen on July 1 or opt to use distance-learning television and online learning.

“There are schools in urban, rural and remote areas. Since we believe one size doesn’t fit all, we have decided to let each school make its own decision, with students’ safety as the bottom line,” said Obec secretary-general Amnat Wichayanuwat.

Amnat said schools wishing to open must first seek permission from their provincial governors.

“If the risk of COVID-19 is very low in their area, normal classes may be possible,” he said, adding that education officials would assess risks ahead of the new semester.

“For instance, if the virus still poses a risk, we may arrange for students to take turns in attending school. If there are 30 students per room, only 10 may be allowed to attend class at a time, while those at home can work on assignments,” he said.

Moreover, the schools will have to set up a particular area for body temperature screening and clean their premises frequently, adding that teachers and students will also have to strictly follow the ministry’s guidelines such as wearing masks and washing their hands frequently.

Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said, some outdoor and extracurricular activities will also be temporarily banned to eliminate the chance of viral transmission.

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