|Primary schools in outlying districts of Hà Nội were allowed to reopen but only for a brief period in late February before virtual learning was reinstated due to a serious COVID-19 surge in the capital city from early March. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — Schools in Hà Nội will reopen to all students from first to sixth grades from Wednesday.
Hà Nội People’s Committee on Monday approved the education department’s proposal to resume in-person learning in first to sixth grades in all of its 30 urban and outlying districts and townships.
This means that one million students in the capital city will return to class after nearly a year of virtual instructions due to COVID-19.
According to the decision, first- to sixth-grade students can attend school in both morning and afternoon sessions, with lunch served depending on the school’s plan and the parents’ consent.
Preschools continue to be closed, however.
Schools must meet COVID-19 safety requirements according to the interdisciplinary guidance of the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Health, and develop a plan of rehearsal and handling when a COVID-19 case is recorded at school.
Sanitisation and disinfection will be required before and after classes.
Local authorities must strengthen the availability of healthcare staff for schools to be ready for all scenarios.
According to the Ministry of Education and Training released on Sunday, Hà Nội remains the only locality in the country to still completely close pre-schools and primary schools at that point.
Specifically, at kindergarten level, aside from Hà Nội, all remaining 62 localities in Việt Nam have resumed in-person learning.
Only four provinces halted in-person learning in some cities or districts due to rising COVID-19 cases – Cao Bằng Province (Cao Bằng City), Lào Cai Province (some districts at high risk of outbreak), Lâm Đồng Province (Đà Lạt City, Bảo Lộc City, Đạ Tẻh District, Cát Tiên District, and Lạc Dương District), and Đắk Lắk (Buôn Mê Thuột City).
At the primary school level, to date, 61 out of 63 localities in the country have allowed in-person learning.
Only Hà Nội and the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc have not reopened primary schools yet.
But in Vĩnh Phúc, primary schools in the two districts of Vĩnh Phúc and Vĩnh Yên have started to receive students starting from Monday.
At secondary high school level, all localities in the country have allowed in-person learning.
In Hà Nội, sixth-grade students are still strictly virtual learning. Four other provinces (Cao Bằng, Đắk Lắk, Hà Nam, Lâm Đồng) have switched to virtual learning in only one district or city due to rising case numbers.
The education ministry noted that all localities have resumed direct learning at most educational institutions, especially the 12th grade to prepare the students for the upcoming National High School Graduation Examination, the results of which will be used to determine their entrance into university.
Hà Nội’s Department of Education and Training has just asked primary schools and secondary high schools under their jurisdiction to collect feedback from parents regarding returning to school.
After the serious surge of COVID-19 cases in the previous two months which constantly put Hà Nội at the first spot in the country in terms of raw cases (although with high vaccination and boostered rate, and the availability of antiviral drugs, the virus hospitalisations and deaths were kept at low figures), in recent days, the number of daily new cases has dropped to around one fourth seen in the peak in early March, there have been increasingly more calls to reopen schools, especially when most other socio-economic activities have resumed with little restrictions.
Deputy Chairman of Hà Nội People’s Committee Chử Xuân Dũng in the plan to “amend the limitations and mistakes in COVID-19 prevention and control” has stressed the need to organise learning and teaching activities in a reasonable manner, and avoid keeping students on virtual learning for too long. — VNS