Back to school in Vietnam

A desk apart: Students wearing face masks and maintaining their distance from each other inside a classroom at the Marie Curie school in Hanoi. — AFP

Millions of schoolchildren in Vietnam have returned to class after the country reported its 17th straight day of no domestically transmitted coronavirus infections.

The decision to reopen schools came after the Southeast Asian nation eased social distancing measures at the end of April – with experts pointing to a decisive response involving mass quarantines and expansive contact tracing for its apparent success in containing the disease.

At a school in western Hanoi yesterday, secondary level students calmly lined up to have their temperatures checked before filing into classrooms for the first time in more than three months.

“I am very happy and excited because it’s boring being at home, ” said 11-year-old Pham Anh Kiet.

“I feel safe when I wear a mask and have my temperature checked, I am not afraid of being infected with the virus, ” he added, before grabbing a classmate for a quick catch-up.

Tran Dang Ngoc Anh, 12, said she had missed her friends and teachers and was happy to be back – despite being a little apprehensive about wearing “stuffy masks in classrooms”.

There are around 22 million school-age children and university students across Vietnam. After being sent home in late January, some kids returned last week.

However, others – including primary school and kindergarten pupils – will have to wait it out a further week.

Universities have begun opening one by one.

Vietnam has recorded just 271 virus cases and zero deaths, according to official tallies on Sunday.

It has been more than two weeks since the country reported a domestically transmitted infection.

But far from letting their guard down, authorities are enforcing strict social distancing measures in schools – with pupils ordered to stay 1.5m apart at all times. Everyone must wear masks.

Nguyen Xuan Khang, a headteacher in Hanoi, admitted it would be difficult to keep the little ones in line.

“When it’s break time, the young ones... they are very active, it will be hard to help them maintain a distance, ” he said.

“But we have to accept that. All the parents give the kids masks, and we also bought 10,000 masks to give to the children.

“We have put a lot of hand sanitiser in the toilets.” — AFP

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In Regional

Pharmacists and doctors' associations warn against unauthorised ivermectin sale and use
Covid-19: Ten new Delta variant cases detected in country, bringing total to 199, says Health DG
Singapore central bank removes caps on dividend payments by local banks
Uptick in Covid-19 cases should be expected over the next few days with more self-testing being done, deputy Health DG
AstraZeneca second dose doesn't raise risk of rare blood clots
Covid-19: Record daily high of 17,405 cases bring total to 1,061,476
Mustapa: Lack of integrity in institutions impacts economic growth
SME's contribution to GDP down 7.3% in 2020
Nine new communication towers help improve internet access in Sabah
June exports surge past RM105b, boost from trade with China, US

Stories You'll Enjoy