Hundreds of thousands of students stay home amid cold wave

By Duong Tam, Binh Minh, Thanh Hang   January 24, 2024 | 01:47 am PT
Hundreds of thousands of students stay home amid cold wave
A student in Hanoi goes to class in a thick coat, Jan. 23, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Hundreds of thousands of students in northern Vietnam stayed home on Wednesday as an intense cold wave plunged temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius.

All 25 northern Vietnam localities recorded temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius Wednesday morning, a drop of 0.5-2 degrees from Tuesday. Lang Son’s Mau Son recorded the lowest temperatures at minus 2.9 degrees, with eight other locations recording temperatures below 5 degrees: Ha Giang’s Dong Van and Vinh Phuc’s Tam Dao at 1 degree; Dien Bien’s Pha Din and Lao Cai’s Sa Pa at 2 degrees; Son La’s Moc Chau, Bac Kan’s Ngan Son and Cao Bang’s Trung Khanh at 3 degrees; and Lai Chau’s Sin Ho at 4 degrees.

The deep cold has forced tens of thousands of students in different localities to stay home.

In Son La, around 56,700 students stayed off school, including over 3,500 students of middle schools and high schools.

In Lao Cai, around 32,400 students in 96 schools stayed home due to the cold, 21,000 more from Tuesday.

In Lang Son, over 92,000 kindergarteners and primary school students had to stay home, according to the Department of Education and Training.

Be Doan Trong, office head of the Lang Son education department, said several schools have organized online classes for students.

"Schools also need to actively adapt to keep students up-to-date with knowledge," he said.

A teacher in Ha Giang said if students keep staying home whenever it gets cold, they would not be able to keep up with the curriculum.

"Right now, the temperatures are at 5 degrees, with only kindergarteners staying home and other grades going to school. Classrooms are also equipped with layers of windows to keep the students warm," the teacher said.

In other localities, where the weather is not as harsh, kindergarteners and primary school students have been allowed to stay home once the temperatures fall below 10 degrees, and middle school and high school students may stay home if temperatures drop below 7 degrees.

In the plains, Phu Tho Province that borders Hanoi let students in 440 schools stay home on Wednesday. Authorities in nearly Hoa Binh Province said 190 schools in the province have let students stay home from Tuesday. The Bac Ninh education department said over 100,000 primary school students have stayed home on Wednesday, with 32,200 still going to school.

Most localities still request schools to take in students if parents have already brought them to schools.

Nguyen Van Manh, director of the Phu Tho education department, said around 30% of parents of kindergarteners want to take their children to class. Some were willing to take them home at noon.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Tuesday called for localities in northern and central Vietnam to instruct people on measures to combat the cold.

This is the second severe cold wave this winter after an earlier one that lasted from Dec. 17 to 22. The earlier cold wave saw almost no school closure.

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