Students Back To School With Smiling Faces
COVID-19 is under control
Since the first case of COVID -19 confirmed on 23 January 2020, the pandemic has undergone through several stages. By 13 May 2020, the country recorded 288 cases, and 249 ones recovered (Vietnam’s Ministry of Health), and there is no new case detected in the community in 27 consecutive days. The government now has allowed the resumption of all non-essential services, except for clubs and karaoke parlors, but with preventive measures.
Gradually easing lockdown and school openings
This week, students from all 63 cities and provinces are eventually going back to school after a prolonged Covid-19 break since January.
At the beginning of May (May 4), many localities allowed partial school resumption, including major cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. Nationwide, ninth-graders and twelfth graders, who need to take two prime examinations, the high school entrance exam and the high school graduation exams accordingly, returned to school. Students in middle and high schools take turns resuming their education in the following days.
In Hanoi, most schools reopened partially last week. That said, students rotationally went to class or/and finished school at mid-day (instead of from 8a.m to 4p.m), while online lessons still remained. This half-day schooling policy, however, created a real struggle in picking up their child(ren) for the working parents. Elementary schools and kindergartens in Hanoi were yet to be back. Ho Chi Minh city shared quite a similar school reopening route.
This week, students of lower grades and kindergartens are finally allowed to go back to school. According to Hanoi, 98,8% of primary students returned schools on May 11, while this number of kindergarten children was 85,1%. Most schools now reoccur their regular routine. Additionally, unnecessary precautions, observed from the previous week, have also been adjusted since the ministry of Education and Training's Document 1583 confirmed that conducting student distancing would be excessive, and schools could use air-conditions.
Community solidary to prepare for school openings
All schools have made careful preparation for the welcome back of their students. All classrooms, restrooms, sports areas, labs have been disinfected before the back-to-school day. All extra curriculum activities, including sport, dance, music, cooking, clubs, excursions, field trips, have been suspended until further notice. Safety precautions such as rearranged parking spaces are in place to make sure best practices are upheld when parents drop off their students at school or pick them up after school. Many schools hold online parent meetings before teacher-student reunions, with a checklist of things to do.
Most schools have installed water taps, arranged hand sanitizers at all classrooms, corridors, stairs. Banners, notice boards on Covid-19 epidemic preventive measures, hand-washing instructions can be seen everywhere on the campus. Chu Van An Primary School in Hoang Mai District, with more than 3,000 students, for example, has installed nearly 90 water taps and dozens of notice boards instructing students to wash their hands properly (Vietnamnews). Cao Ba Quat Primary school in Gia Lam district has spent around 4,300 USD to update the infrastructure for Covid-19 preventive facilities.
In Hanoi, schools are asked to organize pieces of training at weekends so that teachers and school staff are clear about COVID-19 preventive measures and ready for any scenario (Vietnamnews). All school staffs from the administrators to teachers, sanitation workers, and security have their roles in a safe and Corona-immune environment for students. Boarding schools have also been instructed to ensure food quality and freshwater.
Parents are also active in supporting schools in the preparation. Lots of parents voluntarily go to schools at weekends to join hands with teachers to clean classes, toilets, play yards... Some others offer schools face masks and hand washing liquids. Mr. Long, a father of student in grade 5 shared “we are happy to join hands with schools, it is also an opportunity for me to interact with teachers and other parents. All for the future of our children”.
Students are subject to temperature checks before entry and are required to wear face masks on campus. Students who travel back and forth the epidemic-declared areas, or those who are in quarantine or those having fever or cough, must report to teachers on the spot. At several schools, students spent the very first day learning safety measures regarding the COVID-19 epidemic. In addition to studying, some schools encourage students to take turn to clean their table and chair after classes. With a smile on the face, Chau Anh, 10 years old, grade 4 at Cao Ba Quat Primary school shares “I am very excited to be back to schools after more than 100 days off, the longest Tet holiday I have ever had. I really missed my class, my friends even we often see one another viva zoom classes. The first day back to school is special, we organize raising flag activity in the class, not in the school’s yard as usual, and the first lesson of the day is how to wash hands correctly and how to wear masks correctly”.
There are still some worries about the reoccurrence of the pandemic in the community. However, things are gradually and slowly getting back to normal. The strong measures of governments in prevention and treatment, and more importantly the co-efforts and solidarity of all people, it is believed that Vietnam will get over the disease. The images of lovely smiling of children going back to schools with masks, and the co-efforts of all people generate many positive thoughts and good future.
Author: Huan Nguyen Van, Van Khanh Pham
Download: Students Back To School With Smiling Faces (En)
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