|Two students of Ngô Sỹ Liên Secondary School in Hà Nội salute the flag while attending the online opening ceremony for the new academic year held on Sunday morning. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Millions of students across the country attended a special online opening ceremony for the new academic year on Sunday, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while million of others went to ceremonies in person.
The 2021-2022 school year takes place as the COVID-19 outbreak is ravaging a large number of cities and provinces, dealing a heavy blow to business and social affairs, including education. Many localities have closed schools due to rising COVID-19 cases.
Fifty localities nationwide decided to hold the opening ceremony of the new school year either physically or online for nearly 20 million students, while the remaining localities have cancelled or delayed the opening date, giving priority to pandemic prevention and ensuring student safety.
Over 20 other provinces and cities, mainly in the central and southern regions, also kicked-off the new school year opening ceremonies online or via television on Sunday. Due to the worsening outbreak triggered by Delta variant of the coronavirus, many schools are being used as quarantine facilities. After the ceremony, most students had to study online.
In HCM City, the biggest hotspot of COVID-19 in Việt Nam, a simple ceremony was held at Lê Hồng Phong Gifted School on Sunday morning with participation of 30 people and broadcast live.
At the beginning of the ceremony all participants observed a minute's silence in memory of those who had died of the virus.
Chairman of HCM City's People's Committee Phan Văn Mãi said the city was facing the biggest challenge caused by COVID-19, which had prevented students from attending schools but would not prevent them from learning.
Over 20 localities in northern provinces where the pandemic situation has been brought under control allowed students to attend scaled down new year opening ceremonies with strict restrictions. All students and teachers complied with safety measures such as face masks and hand sanitizers.
In Hà Nội, the opening ceremony took place physically at Trưng Vương Secondary School in Hoàn Kiếm District at 7-8am and was broadcast live on Hanoi Television. All delegates, teachers and students attending the event in person had passed a COVID-19 test one day before the event.
Addressing the ceremony in Hà Nội, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Chu Ngọc Anh said the education and training sector of the capital city had striven to overcome difficulties to implement the dual goals of pandemic prevention and control and fulfilling the academic yearly target with the spirit of “temporarily stopping going to schools without stopping studying.”
|Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Chu Ngọc Anh beats the drum to kick off the new school year at the opening ceremony held at Trưng Vương School in Hoàn Kiếm District on Sunday morning which was broacast live for all students of Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS photo|
He said the 2021-22 academic year came amid unpredictable risks from the pandemic and the city would face more difficulties in the future, urging the whole city to unite and join efforts to overcome challenges.
On behalf of over 2.1 million students of Hà Nội attending the online opening ceremony, Nguyễn Mỹ Hạnh, a ninth grader of Trưng Vương School, expressed her gratitude to the authorities of Hà Nội for organising a special and meaningful ceremony.
She told other students to think that online study was just temporary and considered it an opportunity to experience and develop information technology skills as well as improve their self-study capacity and creativity.
|Nearly 600 students of the Mù Cang Chải High School in the northern mountainous province of Yên Bái welcome the new school year. — VNA/VNS Photo Tuấn Anh|
The provinces of Cà Mau and Quảng Bình scrapped their opening ceremonies, while Đồng Tháp, Hậu Giang, Bến Tre, Long An, Trà Vinh, Đồng Nai and Hậu Giang have deferred them for between September 13 to 20.
|Siblings Bùi Ngọc An Nhiên and Bùi Ngọc Hà attend the online ceremony in the central city of Đà Nẵng. — VNA/VNS Photo Võ Văn Dũng|
Bắc Giang Province, one of Hà Nội’s neighbours and a former coronavirus hotspot, permitted teachers and students to attend the opening ceremony of the new school year in person.
|Students in Bắc Giang Province attend the opening ceremony held on Sunday morning. — VNA/VNS Photo|
Schools mobilised staff to clean floors, doorknobs, tables and chairs, as well as teaching equipment with disinfectant and detergents before the ceremony was held. Students were required to keep a safe distance at the opening ceremony that took place over less than an hour.
Prime Minister’s guidelines
Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính has issued a directive asking to speed up measures to ensure safety for education activities and quality for education and training programmes to cope with the pandemic.
He asked the Ministry of Education and Training to coordinate with other ministries and localities to implement the new academic plan flexibly, creating favourable conditions for students to study, as well as protect their health while learning as planned.
|Students attend the new school year opening ceremony at the Đinh Tiên Hoàng Primary School in Hải Phòng northern port city. — VNA/VNS Photo An Đăng|
The ministry was ordered to continue reviewing and completing online teaching methods, developing e-resources for online education and improving capacity of teaching staff to meet the demands of online teaching.
He ordered the Ministry of Health to guide pandemic prevention and control measures for students to ensure safety at schools and build plans to vaccinate students under 18 years old against COVID-19.
The Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs was requested to coordinate with the Ministries of Finance and Education and Training to study policies to support students and teachers and carry out policies to assist teachers and those working for education establishments who face difficulties due to the coronavirus. — VNS