Schools no longer need to close for Covid outbreaks

PHOTO: Schools won't need to close for a Covid outbreak anymore. (via Flickr/ Melani McAlister)

With Covid-19 being downgraded to a communicable disease of concern, schools and universities will no longer require closures for outbreaks. Minister of Education Trinuch Thienthong spoke at a press conference yesterday and said that new control measures won’t include definite closures, should an outbreak of the coronavirus afflict a school.

With many students often packed into a tight area, schools are still at higher risk than most locations. But the ministry has ended three pandemic notifications as of August 1. They still advised some safety precautions as students interacting as part of a group is unavoidable.

Organizing classes to be conscientious of Covid safety has been recommended along with the use of face masks in enclosed areas. The Education Minister reiterated a commitment to the safety and good health of all teachers and school faculty. They said more projects were in the works to address any concerns in schools.

As of now though, it is no longer necessary to close a school should a Covid outbreak occur. The minister said that accommodations can be made for a cluster, but don’t need to be as extreme as before.

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“Since the pandemic situation in Thailand is now considered manageable, school closures are not necessary, and classroom activities are going to be situationally adjusted instead of closed if Covid-infected students or teachers are identified.”

Preventive measures and actions seem to be the preferred course in addressing Covid at school now. A deputy director of the Department of Health agreed that keeping schools open was fine. But he suggested that group vaccinations and regular use of home antigen test kits become standard. The acting permanent secretary also suggested implementing a Covid tracking system for schools.

Full vaccinations are still low in a lot of young students. Out of five million students aged five to 11, only 1.1% have had two doses and a booster shot. But the last few months have seen a sizable decrease in death and severe Covid infections in young people with fewer requiring a hospital stay.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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