Hanoi defers reopening of district schools for grades 1-6

By Thanh Hang, Vo Hai   February 18, 2022 | 05:16 am PT
Hanoi defers reopening of district schools for grades 1-6
Students attend a class at the Ngo Si Kien Primary School in Hanoi's Thanh Tri District, February 10, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu
Hanoi authorities said Friday that a plan to let students from 1st to 6th grade in 12 inner districts return to school next Monday will be deferred.

According to a proposal made Friday afternoon by the municipal Department of Education and Training, Hanoi's Covid-19 situation was developing in a complex manner, with rising numbers of community transmissions.

Hanoi has recorded 3,675 new daily Covid-19 cases, on average, in the past seven days, and consistently topped the country in the daily tally. It has recorded more than188,000 Covid-19 cases in the fourth coronavirus wave starting last April.

Besides coronavirus concerns, the capital is also expected to experience a significant drop in temperatures due to a strong mass of cold air, according to the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting. Not all parents have agreed to let their children return to school as well, the proposal noted.

Considering all the factors outlined, the municipal People's Committee approved the proposal to let 400,000 students from 1st to 12th grade in 12 inner districts continue studying online until further notice.

Surveys of different primary schools have found that only around 50 percent of parents agree with the policy of letting children return to school, with the disagreement mostly coming over Covid-19 concerns.

The Friday afternoon proposal was in apparent conflict with another one made by the department in the morning to reopen schools for the entire day.

Tran The Cuong, director of the Hanoi Department of Education and Training, said Friday morning that besides full-day reopening, schools should also be allowed to operate buses to transport their students between homes and schools.

Hanoi only allows students to study at school for half a day at present. Normally, schools would be open for the entire day so students could have lunch and study both in the morning and the afternoon. Such a schedule is more convenient for parents to drop off and pick up their children.

If schools are only allowed to hold classes for half a day, parents would need to transport their children between home and school at irregular hours.

The capital city allowed 9th graders to return to school last November, and two weeks later, 12th graders got the go ahead. Students from 7th to 11th grades only returned to school on February 8 and they were followed soon after by primary school and 6th grade students in schools on the city's outskirts.

Kindergarteners are set return to school starting March, but whether this will happen as scheduled remains to be seen, given the current Covid situation.

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