In Hanoi, young kids are going to school for first time in months

By Thanh Hang, Duong Tam   February 9, 2022 | 10:00 pm PT
In Hanoi, young kids are going to school for first time in months
Students attend a class at the Dan Phuong Primary School in Hanoi, February 10, 2022. Photo by VnExpres/Duong Tam
Over 500,000 students from grades 1 to 6 on the outskirts of Hanoi returned to school on Thursday, ending over nine months of online classes.

Lien's daughter woke up immediately when her mother called, even when she had to wake up an hour earlier than usual. After breakfast, she was taken to the Da Ton Primary School in Gia Lam District, which was about a kilometer away from home.

It was her daughter's first day at school, Lien thought, sticking around for a bit to look at her just a little longer. The girl was hesitant at first, she quickly joined her friends for class.

When the school contacted and said it's about to reopen, Lien's daughter was visibly excited. Every day she asked Lien whether she had prepared her water bottles, masks and other items for school.

"I've gotten used to the fact that Covid-19 is here to stay and that we must learn to live with it. Even adults find it difficult to stay home for too long, not to mention children who want to play and communicate with others. So seeing that my daughter got to go to school, I'm happy for her," Lien said.

Across the capital, over 455,000 primary school students and 74,600 sixth graders in 17 outskirt districts returned to school starting Thursday, after spending over nine months of studying online. For first graders like Lien's daughter, it was their first day to attend a classroom in person.

At 7 a.m., the school gates of the Dan Phuong Primary School and the Phung Town Primary School opposite of it were packed with people, despite the winter’s cold and light rain outside.

In the yard of Dan Phuong school, students were divided into seven lines and marched their way to classrooms. The headmistress stood at the gate to greet the students and directed them to their classes, along with all the teachers and staffs. As a social distancing measure, only first, second and fifth graders go to school in the morning, while third and fourth graders would go in the afternoon.

A little girl goes to the Dan Phuong Primary School in Hanoi, February 10, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Duong Tam

A little girl goes to the Dan Phuong Primary School in Hanoi, February 10, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Duong Tam

Nguyen Nguyen Khoi, a first grader, said he was glad to see his friends for the first time ever. He then listened attentively as the teacher guided the class on organizing their desks.

"I’m so happy. My stack of books is beautiful," said Nguyen Ha Phuong, a classmate of Khoi.

Nguyen Xuan Que, a specialist at the Department of Education and Training in Dan Phuong District, said the local education department has requested that all schools have comprehensive coronavirus protocols in order to receive the students.

In Hai Boi Primary School of Dong Anh District, over 2,200 students were divided into two shifts, with third, fourth and fifth graders studying in the morning, while first and second graders go in the afternoon.

At 7:15 a.m., most students were taken by their parents to school. Some of them were late to classes and were led by their teachers. Body temperatures were checked at classrooms instead to avoid congestion at the school gates.

Nguyen Mau Chien, headmaster of the school, said preparation to receive the students has gone underway since early February. By Thursday, 21 students of the school tested positive for the coronavirus. These students would be allowed to stay home and study online, before returning once they test negative.

"It’s been so long since I last saw the school yard to be so crowded," said Chien.

In Ba Vi, students from the first to sixth grades would not return to school until next Monday. The local education department said the delay was due to the Covid-19 situation in the region. On February 8, there were around 115 Covid-19 cases in Ba Vi, and new cases could come in the future.

Two days prior, over 600,000 students from seventh to 12th grade in Hanoi have returned to class. It means over half of the 2.2 million students and kindergartners have returned to school. The rest of the students should also return starting February 21, while kindergartners would also return based on the coronavirus situation by the time.

Around 17.1 million students across Vietnam returned to classes at the beginning of this week, up 1.4 million compared to before the Lunar New Year holiday.

In HCMC, schools have welcomed first graders Thursday while students from second to sixth grades will come back to school next week, following nine months of online study.

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