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Localities differ in welcoming students back to class

Update: October, 21/2021 - 07:16
Earlier in October, the Government assigned the MoET with issuing safety guidelines for schools to resume in-person teaching for localities that have had outbreaks under control. — VNA/VNS Photo Hữu Quyết

HÀ NỘI – Some localities that have managed to bring COVID-19 under control have not yet decided when to allow students to return to school, even though the Government asked them to do so this month.

There are several reasons for this delay, Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper reported.

Earlier in October, the Government assigned the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) with issuing safety guidelines for schools to resume in-person teaching for localities that have brought outbreaks under control. However, this document is not yet available as of October 18.

There is also an insignificant shift in the number of localities with plans to welcome back students, with each setting their own rules and regulations.

Despite being at the lowest level of pandemic risk and directly recommended by the MoET, the most recent announcement from Hà Nội Department of Education and Training (DoET) still instructs schools throughout the city to “continue remote learning until further notice”. Among the concerns are students not yet being vaccinated, and several localities recording new COVID-19 cases upon receiving students back to school, explained the department head.

Some provinces and cites are being exceptionally cautious as schools remain closed despite months of no new cases. Hưng Yên Province has not recorded any outbreak or community infection in the fourth wave of the pandemic in the country, yet hybrid learning is applied only to Grade 1 pupils, while the rest of the K-12 continue studying online.

According to a representative of Hưng Yên DoET, the province is in close proximity to Hà Nội and Hà Nam, which have both seen outbreaks, and therefore must take careful consideration.

On October 15, Hưng Yên People’s Committee has issued Plan No. 157 on safe adaptation, flexibility and effective control of the COVID-19 pandemic in the province. The latest announcement from the education department instructs all educational institutions to resume in-person classes only when all the requirements set in this plan are met.

However, vaccinations for teachers remain an obstacle in welcoming back pupils. Students at all levels will proceed with remote learning until further notice.

On the contrary, other localities have been employing a flexible approach to ensure children's rights to go to school.

After detecting more than 40 COVID-19 cases among students at Chu Hóa Secondary School (Việt Trì City, Phú Thọ Province) and several other F1 cases in Lâm Thao District, the province has allowed these areas to temporary pause in-person classes for a week.

However, Nguyễn Văn Mạnh, Department Head of Phú Thọ DoET, said the local education sector would coordinate with medical facilities to screen, test and determine the outbreak scale for students in the infected areas this week. Based on the results, the province could reduce the number of students who have to stay at home.

For other educational institutions in Phú Thọ that have brought the pandemic under control, the DoET instructed to resume in-person classes, taking advantage of the “golden timeframe” to follow the curriculum while paying close attention to increasing classwork so as not to overload students and teachers alike.

Bắc Ninh Province is also responding flexibly to the pandemic situation, although having detected new infections in the community or F1 cases among students. In particular, after recording new cases in several school in Võ Cường Ward (Bắc Ninh City), the local authority has decided to only quarantine and close in-person classes in this area from October 12. After three days of screening and testing, the city has allowed secondary schools to welcome students back to school, with primary schools and kindergartens following suit after a few days.

School still out in several localities

The MoET recently held an online working session with Cần Thơ City, a rare case where primary school has not begun. The locality has decided to not hold online classes for pupils at this level due to concerns on the effectiveness and quality for young children.

Also in the discussion, Cần Thơ DoET’s Section of Primary Education reported they are consulting with the provincial People’s Committee to welcome back primary schoolchildren starting from November 11, which is also the starting point for the first semester curriculum for this level in the 2021 – 2022 school year.

Starting the school year two months later than other localities, the second semester for primary pupils in Cần Thơ is expected to begin on March 7, 2022; and will also end later than others – before July 10, 2022.

“With the aforementioned timeframe, it is advised that the city People’s Committee allow district-level People’s Committees to take the initiative in assessing the safety level, and decide whether to proceed with in-person classes or at-home learning with teachers’ instruction,” said Lê Thanh Long, Head of Department of Primary Education.

For secondary and high school levels, 100 per cent of educational institutions have developed and implemented plans for online teaching. However, reports from Cần Thơ DoET reveal that 5.8 per cent of students (4,020 pupils) in secondary schools and 1.2 per cent (400 pupils) in high schools live in disadvantaged areas where it is difficult to access learning equipment and Internet connection, and therefore cannot participate in online classes. Applications used for teaching are not consistent, and a portion of teachers have not effectively organised classwork in this new format. —VNS

 

 

 

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