A medical official disinfects Huỳnh Thúc Kháng High School in Nghệ An Province’s Vinh city. — VNA/VNS Photo Bích Huệ
HCM CITY — The heads of many universities in HCM City, especially medical and pharmacy, on Friday sought the People’s Committee’s approval to reopen on March 16 after six weeks of closure due to COVID-19 epidemic.
Speaking at a meeting with city authorities to discuss strengthening of measures to prevent the disease, Trần Diệp Tuấn, rector of the University of Medicine and Pharmacy, said his students have the required knowledge and skills to control diseases and this is a chance for them to acquire experience.
They could in fact serve as reserve personnel if the city lacks adequate doctors and nurses in case of a COVID-19 outbreak.
He said the Department of Health should instruct hospitals to take in medicine and pharmacy students now for them to acquire practical experience.
Ngô Minh Xuân, rector of Phạm Ngọc Thạch University of Medicine, said his students wanted to contribute to controlling diseases.
“The existing online courses only teach them theory. They need practical lessons at hospitals.”
Huỳnh Thành Đạt, president of the Việt Nam National University-HCM City (VNUHCM), which has a School of Medicine, concurred with Xuân and Tuấn that students should return to school.
But students of VNUHCM’s member universities in other streams should not return yet since many live in dormitories and could cause an epidemic, he said.
Đỗ Văn Dũng, rector of the HCM City University of Technology and Education, said that weather in HCM City is favourable for controlling COVID-19.
“We should reopen schools on March 16.”
Otherwise, universities would have difficulty paying salaries since they are financially autonomous and depend on students’ tuition fees.
Lê Thanh Liêm, standing vice chairman of the city People’s Committee, said the administration was carefully considering when to reopen schools. City leaders would hold another meeting on Friday to make a final decision, he said.
“We also want students to return to school, but we have to be careful for the sake of their safety since the COVID-19 outbreak is widespread.
“If schools reopen and a single student contracts COVID-19, that school will have to close and we need to think about how to isolate its students.”
The city Department of Education and Training has changed the schedule for second semester tests, delaying them by two weeks to May 18-June 6.
The secondary school graduation examination will be postponed by nearly a month from May 26 to June 23. — VNS