Ministry requests school opening as Cambodia confirms 15 new imported virus cases

  • AseanPlus News
  • Sunday, 12 Jul 2020

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. - The Phnom Penh Post/Asian News Network

PHNOM PENH, July 12 (Phnom Penh Post/ANN): The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport has announced that it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen next month while medium and minimum-standard ones will follow as allowed.

But the schools have to carry out some required measures to prevent Covid-19, he said.

“Educational establishments have to take responsibility for carrying out safety measures. They have to fulfil the required conditions of promoting health in the context of Covid-19.

“They have to prepare school environments and classrooms to health standards. They have to take temperatures daily and have students wash hands frequently and wear facemasks, ” he said.

He said educational establishments have to create a new normal – students will take some online classes and some on-campus classes.

“They have to prepare a working group in charge of health safety to do daily checks under the guidance of the directors of educational establishments.

“The establishments had to test academic staff and students for Covid-19 and carry out some required measures. The ministry would inspect and assess the performance of the educational establishments strictly, ” he said.

However, Soveacha did not confirm how many schools would reopen and the exact timeframe for first-stage reopening.

Peng Kimchhen, the principal of Wat Bo primary school in Siem Reap province, said on Thursday that he had already prepared some preventive measures against Covid-19 to be carried out in case the ministry allows schools to reopen.

“First, we will maintain social and physical distancing in each classroom. We will also have a working group on standby to prevent them walking close to each other.

“We will have to take students’ temperatures before allowing them in. They will have to wash their hands with soap and alcohol put in place.

“Second, time is to be divided for two groups of students. For example, a classroom typically accommodated 50 students before, so we will have to split them with only 25 students allowed in each classroom.

“We will also guide them on how to use items in the classroom exclusively to themselves instead of sharing with others.

Centre for Policy Studies director Chan Sophal said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that long school closures appeared to have social costs that are difficult to measure.

“Millions of students can change attitudes to become bad because they had the habit of playing games too much, spending time on smartphones, or hanging out for too many hours. Poor students don’t have such tools, ” he said.

Xinhua reports that Cambodia on Sunday confirmed 15 new imported Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 156, according to a health ministry's statement.

The new cases are 15 Cambodian men, aged between 21 and 33 years old, the statement said, adding that they all travelled from Saudi Arabia to Cambodia on Friday, with a connecting flight in Malaysia.

"They were tested positive for Covid-19 (on Saturday) and are currently undergoing treatment at the Chak Angre Health Centre in southern Phnom Penh," Health Ministry's secretary of state and spokeswoman Or Vandine said in the statement.

She added that all other 79 passengers including 78 Cambodians and one Malaysian have been placed under a 14-day mandatory quarantine at various quarantine centers.

The South-East Asian country has recorded a total of 156 confirmed Covid-19 cases to date, with 133 patients cured and 23 remained hospitalised, said Vandine.

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