Saigon extends school closure by another two weeks

By Manh Tung   February 29, 2020 | 12:07 am PT
Saigon extends school closure by another two weeks
Nine-grade students attend an exam in Ho Chi Minh City in June 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Manh Tung.
HCMC will keep 12th grade students away from school for another week at least and younger students for another fortnight.

The southern metropolis was the last locality in Vietnam to update its school closure plan. All other 62 cities and provinces had announced Friday that they will extend the ongoing break by one to two weeks for all students - from preschool to secondary levels.

Most cities and provinces are going to send high school students or 12th graders back to school on Monday. Hanoi gave all students from preschoolers to high schoolers another week off.

High school students, especially 12th graders, have greater pressure to keep up with their study plans as they have a high school graduation exam in summer. The exam was held in June in previous years but has been rescheduled for July this year. Vietnamese high school system comprises of 10th, 11th and 12th grades.

HCMC authorities say their decision to extend the closure is based on "complicated" developments of the Covid-19 epidemic, which has now affected 60 countries and territories and claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

HCMC, the biggest city in Vietnam, has nearly two million students from kindergarten to continuing education and vocational training colleges.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said at a recent government meeting that "students should return to school only when safety is ensured."

Earlier, Vietnamese cities and provinces had allowed their students to stay away from classes until the end of February, instead of going back to school on February 3 after the Lunar New Year break. Last week, HCMC authorities proposed that the government extend the school closure until the end of March.

But no decision was made at the national level, and each locality has come up with its own plan.

Vietnam's last Covid-19 patient out of 16 infections was confirmed on February 13 and he was discharged on February 26.

Vietnamese students are often given a two-week spring holiday and a three-month summer break. This is the first time more than 22 million students nationwide have had such a long spring break.

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