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Schools across Cambodia reopen

Som Kanika / Khmer Times Share:
Students walk through a sanitising booth at Bak Touk High School in Phnom Penh. KT/ Siv Channa

Schools across Cambodia reopened for students yesterday, following the green light from the Ministry of Education after six months of closures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

According to the ministry, the second phase of reopening the schools allows only for grade nine and grade 12 students to open, and each classroom must adhere to strict health measures.

However, four provinces including Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri, and Mondulkiri (only schools in the provincial town) were authorised to resume all class levels from kindergarten up to high school as these provinces have been assessed as having a low risk of COVID-19 infection.

Ros Soveacha, Education Ministry spokesman, said yesterday that each school must follow the health measures set by the Ministry of Health and the WHO.

Each classroom must adhere to the ministry’s guidelines, with a maximum of 20 students per class being seated at least two metres apart. Schools must provide a safe, inclusive, comfortable and friendly learning environment, Soveacha said.

“Before entering the school, students are required to have a temperature check, wash their hands, and wear facemasks,” he added.

Soveacha also said that about 300 private schools will reopen.

Students queue up for temperature checks before being allowed into their classroom at Bak Touk High School in Phnom Penh yesterday. KT/Siv Channa

“If these schools fail to comply with ministry safety measures, then they will be warned or shut down temporarily,” he added.

Director of Sisowath Highschool, Moul Suyheng, said yesterday that their class sizes have been reduced to a maximum of 20 students, in line with ministry guidelines.

Every teacher works hard to ensure that all students can learn in a safe environment,  especially for grade 12 students as they will have a national exam soon, Suyheng added.

Deputy director of Sisowath Highschool and director of the New Generation School (NGS) programme, Sam Kamsann, yesterday emphasised that students should continue with online classes, despite the schools reopening.

Therefore, in the NGS programme, students are still divided into two shifts. Students from each shift need to experience both physical and online classes every week.

Kamsann said: “we have implemented this strategy since March and we have seen that it has helped the students during this pandemic.”

Pov Nounsovanpanha, a grade nine student from Boeng Trabek High School, yesterday said that there were only 18 students in their classroom. During and after the study they were not allowed to gather in a big crowd.

 

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