Cambodia to reopen schools on Sept 7 as Covid-29 cases eases

Public high school students will be heading back to class next month for the first semester of the year. - The Phnom Penh Post/Asian News Network

PHNOM PENH, Aug 28 (Phnom Penh Post/ANN): Cambodia will reopen the academic institutions on Sept 7 after temporary closure since mid-March due to the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, according to the Education Ministry on Friday.

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said in a press release that the schools must properly follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) set out by the Ministry of Health in order to ensure students' safety.

"The schools must comply with safety and hygiene measures, especially maintaining social distancing by not allowing students to gather in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19," he said.

The number of students in a classroom must not be more than 20, the news release said.

It added that the new academic year 2020-2021 will start from Jan 11, 2021 onwards.

The ministry’s instruction said the schools have to carry out measures to disinfect the virus and limit classrooms to 15-20 students. They have to prepare physical distancing of at least 2m and keep all school campuses open to avoid overcrowding.

High schools must have teachers in charge of health to apply first aid and check on students and academic staff.

They also have to get students’ parents and guardians to provide information on health and travel history. Students and staff must have their temperatures checked before entering their schools.

Prime Minister Hun Sen decided to allow the Ministry of Education to reopen public pre-schools, primary schools and high schools in September after 20 international private schools reopened in August in the first stage.

The government announced the closure of all schools nationwide in March, requiring town and rural students to follow distance learning via television and social media to curb the spread of Covid-19.

School reopening is to be divided into three phases. The first phase is for schools with higher standards. The second is for schools with medium standards and the third is for schools with minimum standards.

Education Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Wednesday that the ministry will release another notice after a meeting with private schools on Thursday on reopening private secondary schools in the second stage.

“For private schools, there will be an announcement after the ministry discusses the matter with them,” he said.

Cambodia has so far prevented community transmission of Covid-19, based on which Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to reopen schools and allow for the Khmer New Year replacement holiday as the Kingdom has proven itself capable of managing the pandemic.

While no new Covid-19 case has been reported in the past 12 days, a total of 273 infected cases had been recorded in the Kingdom since January 27. Ten people remain hospitalised.

Globally, Covid-19 has had a major impact on public health, economies and education. In March, UNICEF claimed that more than one billion students worldwide are not in school due to the pandemic. - The Phnom Penh Post/Asian News Network
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