Health and safety a priority as kids return to Bangkok schools after two turbulent years

Photo provided courtesy of UNICEF

The Thailand Ministry of Education yesterday allowed schools to reopen their doors for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the nation in 2020 in line with the government’s transition to living with Covid as an endemic disease.

Some children celebrated their return to school in style in Tak province, northern Thailand, taxied in by elephants, as reported in The Thaiger yesterday. Travel to schools in downtown Bangkok weren’t as exotic, and hugs and kisses may have been banned as part of social distancing rules, but the excitement and joy on the faces of returning children was plain for all to see on greeting their formerly estranged fellow students.

“I’m overjoyed to meet my friends again. It’s been more than a year of separation,” says Natthawara Boontae, a sixth-grader at Wat Ratchanatda School, in Phra Nakhon district.

“Still, hugging each other is a no-no,” she added.

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Students in Thailand faced a number of difficulties working remotely. Problems included no dedicated spaces for online learning inside students’ homes, unreliable Internet or wi-fi connectivity, while classes conducted on smartphones used large amounts of expensive data.

On the plus side children studying at home were safer from contacting the virus and that is why draconian measures have been introduced at the highest level as a commitment to prevent infection now pupils will come into daily contact.

Education Minister Trinuch Thienthong insisted schools must strictly implement health and safety measures for the protection of everyone to stop the spread of the pandemic.

Measures include sensor-operated body temperature scanners at a school’s entrance, Antigen Test Kit areas, and widespread sanitiser gel available throughout all school premises.

Teacher Thanakorn Chaisit revealed Wat Ratchanata School has fitted a divider at every table in the canteen and students have to enter for lunch at staggered hours.

Tables are socially distanced and wearing a mask is compulsory at all times in class unless students are outdoors, while special quarantine rooms have been set aside for pupils should they develop any Covid symptoms.

The return to on-site learning ran smoothly for most schools but there were some teething problems to the start of the new term. Two students tested positive for Covid at Muang Nakhon Ratchasima School, but classes still continued under the Education Ministry’s safety measures.

In Hat Yai district of Songkhla, an increase in traffic caused chaos to the morning rush-hour where four schools are located.

It isn’t all negative news however, as Hat Yai Witthayalai Somboon Kulkanya School proudly declared all of its 3,700 students have received double vaccine doses.

City clerk Khachit Chatchawanit says that although all schools in Bangkok have reopened with on-site learning, parents still had the option of continuing online studies if they wished.

Khachit added that 98% of teachers in the city’s schools have been vaccinated.

Source: Bangkok Post

Bangkok NewsCovid-19 NewsEducationHealthNorthern Thailand NewsThailand News

Bob Scott

Bob Scott is an experienced writer and editor with a passion for travel. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he spent more than 10 years in Asia. He worked as a sports writer in the north of England and London before relocating to Asia. Now he resides in Bangkok, Thailand, where he is the Editor-in-Chief for The Thaiger English News. With a vast amount of experience from living and writing abroad, Bob Scott is an expert on all things related to Asian culture and lifestyle.

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