|The main hall of the former District Military Command headquarters in its new guise - a classroom. — Photo tienphong.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Despite an entire class being moved to centralised quarantine in Quảng Bình Province after a positive COVID-19 case in the classroom, this hasn't gotten in the way of their learning. In fact, classes are continuing as normal in the former headquarters of the District Military Command that has been repurposed as their quarantine facility.
On November 1, Tuyên Hóa District Education and Training Division received the news that a student in Class 1C, Sơn Hóa Elementary School in Tuyên Hóa District, had caught COVID-19 from a family member, Head of the Division Hoàng Văn Phúc told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) Newspaper.
The classroom was immediately quarantined and all students returned home while waiting for further instruction from the district’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 prevention and control.
At 7 pm on the same day, all 29 students in Class 1C and five teachers were taken to a building that was previously the headquarters of the district Military Command, for centralised quarantine.
“Our hearts were heavy seeing these timid, confused children getting into the specialised vehicles in the dark. They are still too young to understand what was going on when they have just started school”, said Phúc.
“In order to ensure COVID-19 prevention measures, many parents only managed to send basic necessities for their children through the school fences”.
Then an idea came to his mind, “Why not hold a class right in the quarantine area when teachers and students are all there?”
His proposal was immediately accepted by the province. The commune leaders were directed by the district’s Steering Committee for COVID-19 prevention and control to help the school move tables, chairs, and school supplies from the classroom to the quarantine zone.
This special class officially started two days later at the main hall of the District Military Command's former headquarters.
The class was divided into two shifts, with one table for each student, sitting two metres from one another.
A WiFi system and rooms were also available for quarantined teachers to teach students at home via online classes, ensuring that the children’s learning was not disrupted.
“The first day opening the class in the quarantine zone, I was very nervous. But when I received the report, especially from the teachers in the area, I felt reassured”, said Phúc.
“Teachers and students were all very excited. I believe that this class will be a success in terms of both education and pandemic prevention”, he continued.
“In the future, if there are more classes that must go to centralised quarantine, I think it is possible to continue with this model. Our division will continue looking into utilising classrooms as centralised quarantine areas for students and teachers, where they can continue learning and teaching as usual”, said Phúc.
Phan Thị Thảo Quyên, Class 1C homeroom teacher, shared that upon hearing the news of an infected student in the class, all the teachers were extremely worried. The young pupils had no idea what was happening and were confused that their parents didn’t pick them up after class.
As the teachers explained the situation, many children became anxious and started sobbing. Many more began crying when they were put on the specialised vehicle to go into quarantine, said Quyên.
“We were pondering what to do in this 14-day isolation period when we were informed that classes can resume as normal. We were all incredibly happy and excited”, she said.
Of the 29 students having to go into quarantine, only a few had their parents coming with them as F1 (close contacts of COVID-19 patients), while the rest of the pupils went alone. Teachers then had to fill in the parent's role to take care of the children.
“When the students first arrived at the centre, many panicked, some even refused to eat. This is the first time away from home for most of them, so a lot of them were crying or homesick”, said Quyên.
“We then had to stay up and comfort them so as not to wake the other pupils. Without their parents by their side, we all see them as our own children. Fortunately, they can attend class during the day, so their homesickness is somewhat relieved”, she continued.
She also thanked the Tuyên Hóa commune leaders for the well-equipped facilities. The classes have gone smoothly as it is very convenient for both teachers and students.
The quarantine area and the classroom are also very spacious and well-ventilated, so pandemic prevention measures are ensured.
Nguyễn Thái Phong, a student in this special class said; “I went alone without my parents. I miss my family, but I am happy to have my friends and teachers with me here. I promise to follow the pandemic prevention measures and study hard, to stay healthy when I return home”.
Đặng Ngọc Tuấn, Director of Quảng Bình Department of Education and Training, said that this was a brilliant initiative. In addition to the quality of education in the quarantine zone, it is necessary to ensure pandemic prevention measures and prevent cross-infection. — VNS