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Dong Nai reopens schools after four months

By Phuoc Tuan   November 21, 2021 | 11:57 pm PT
Dong Nai reopens schools after four months
12th graders study at the Thong Nhat A High School in Dong Nai's Trang Bom District, November 22, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Thai Ha
Southern industrial hub Dong Nai has reopened certain schools in low-risk areas as a trial starting Monday, following four months of online tuition.

For now, schools only allow students at end grades, for example 9th and 12th, to return to class.

Hundreds of students at the Thong Nhat A High School in Trang Bom District returned to class this morning, filled with excitement. But not all parents were so eager.

"I know going to school would improve studying, but considering the high number of infections within the community, I'm still worried. Since my children are already vaccinated, I encouraged them to go," said Nguyen Thi Lan, a mother.

Bach Thanh Lua, headmaster of Thong Nhat A, said online classes could never surpass in-person tuition, especially for 12th graders about to graduate and take exams. Prolonged online classes may affect education quality, he added.

"Allowing students to return to class is a decision the school board and teachers have mulled over. Fortunately, students from 10th to 12th grade have been vaccinated, so it wasn't difficult to convince their parents," he said.

In the province's capital town Bien Hoa, Thong Nhat Secondary School is the only school to reopen as a trial, though the provincial People’s Committee on Sunday issued a document to halt reopening after nine 9th graders were found infected with the coronavirus.

The People's Committee of Long Thanh District also delayed reopening of the Tan Hiep Secondary School to Tuesday due to new Covid-19 cases in the community. Tran Hung Dao and Phuoc An secondary schools will also see their reopening dates delayed to Nov. 29.

Dong Nai People’s Committee said the provincial Steering Committee for Covid-19 Prevention and Control would evaluate the trial after a week and may allow more schools to reopen. All students aged 12 and above and eligible to return to school have been vaccinated with at least one shot, he added.

Nguyen Son Hung, deputy chairman of Dong Nai People’s Committee, said many students still lack the necessary equipment or a stable Internet connections to study online. Parents have also begun to return to work, so they are not comfortable with leaving their children alone at home. As such, in-person classes are becoming increasingly more relevant, he said.

Dong Nai is currently vaccinating students aged 12-17 to prepare for school reopening. The province has recorded over 82,000 Covid-19 cases in the fourth wave and 667 deaths.

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