|A teacher uses blankets to keep students warm at the Nậm Chạc Kindergarten in Bát Xát District, Lào Cai Province. — Photo baolaocai.vn|
LÀO CAI — Schools in the northern mountainous province of Lào Cai are working hard to keep their students warm amid the chill of winter.
According to regulations of the Ministry of Education and Training, when the temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, students should be off school. However, if this regulation was applied, there would be too many days off for kids in Lào Cai. Therefore, highland localities such as Bắc Hà, Sa Pa and Si Ma Cai districts have to flexibly apply this regulation depending on the weather and the facilities in schools.
On December 18, when the temperature in the area fluctuated between 5-8 degrees Celsius, only one school in Sa Pa Town had to let students stay off, which is Sa Pa Primary School with 35 classes and 1,229 students.
Đỗ Văn Tân, director of the Sa Pa Town Department of Education and Training, said giving students a cold break is done by schools on the basis of the actual weather situation.
"There are many sub-regions of different climates in Sa Pa, for example, Mường Hoa Commune is often warmer. Therefore, the town People's Committee has written instructions on days when the temperature drops below 6 degrees Celsius, school principals will decide on school leave", he said.
Tân added that some schools, despite the weather, maintain normal teaching and learning because they are equipped to beat the cold. Some students even find it warmer at school than at home.
On cold days in Sa Pa Town, the attendance rate of students in the lower secondary and primary grades has not decreased significantly, only about 0.3 per cent.
To do that, Tân said, the fight against the cold for students has received care from the Sa Pa Department of Education and Training since the beginning of the school year.
The department invested more than VNĐ10 billion (more than US$431,000) in maintaining and repairing classrooms such as windows, doors, roofing and buying basic items of schools and classes to prevent cold such as blankets, sheets, mattresses and pillows.
It directed schools not to allow students to go outdoors and to stay in the classroom.
In Sa Pa, the town education sector has upgraded the electrical infrastructure for schools, adding heating equipment for students, especially preschool students. Currently, all schools with grid electricity in Sa Pa Town are provided with heating in the classroom by the education department.
The same measures are taken in Si Ma Cai District.
Nguyễn Kiều Oanh, director of the district education department, said that on cold days, the attendance rate of the district's students is still high, including 97.5 per cent in kindergarten, primary school 99.3 per cent and junior secondary school 97.7 per cent.
The education department noted that based on the conditions of each region, schools can adjust the study time, not force students to wear uniforms if they are not warm enough and limit outdoor activities.
In addition, to ensure school safety in the winter, in a recent letter on preventing cold for students, Dương Bích Nguyệt, director of the Lào Cai Department of Education and Training, requested schools pay attention to the prevention of fire and explosions when using heating equipment for students. — VNS