68 schools to reopen under pilot scheme

The Ministry of Education is launching a "Sandbox Safety Zone in School" programme to reopen 68 schools across the country.

Education Ministry spokeswoman, Kesthip Supawanich, said schools taking part in the reopening include include 20 schools of the Special Education Bureau, three from the Primary Education Area Office, one from the Secondary Education Service Area Office, and 44 schools of the Office of the Private Education Commission.

Ms Kesthip said the programme has three conditions -- the reopened schools must be boarding schools, the learning has to be voluntary and the schools' readiness must be approved according to health measures.

The schools must seek approval from parents and the provincial disease control committee and arrange isolation spaces and safety zones.

The schools must be inspected by the Education Ministry and Public Health Ministry and report their situation through the MOECOVID and Thai Stop Covid Plus applications.

Education Minister Treenuch Thienthong added that some private schools are included in the programme.

When teachers and students over 12 years of age have been vaccinated, teaching will consist of combined methods, both online and on-site, Ms Kesthip said.

Regarding next year, she said Supat Champathong, permanent secretary for education, has discussed with the Royal College of Pediatricians, the Disease Control Department, and the Health Department about students being vaccinated and methods of teaching for the second semester that starts in January.

She said the doctors insisted that the vaccination must be proven safe and the ministry is seeking more research to prove vaccine safety while the Health Department will draw up a rollout plan for children.

Vaccination will be on a voluntary basis with parents deciding on the issue, while the ministry will publicise vaccine information and news.

Ms Kesthip said if all vaccination centres are ready and people trust vaccines, school reopening for on-site education may be possible in the second semester. If not, the ministry will only proceed with the Sandbox Safety Zone in School scheme.


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