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Back to school May 17 despite cases

Schools will reopen as scheduled on May 17 for on-site teaching despite concerns about the rate of Covid-19 infections, according to the Office of the Basic Education Commission (Obec).

Obec is determined to push ahead with the opening of the new term after meeting school district directors and headmasters from across the country.

Yesterday Obec’s secretary-general, Amporn Pinasa, said the meeting discussed and assessed the readiness of schools to reopen.

He insisted the May 17 opening date for the first term of the academic year still stands. “There will be no postponement,” he said.

The Obec secretary-general said he has directed schools to conduct mainly on-site classes. However, remote learning or other teaching methods or a combination of online and other methods may provide a useful alternative.

The ground rule was that on-site classes must conform strictly to Covid-free setting requirements issued by the Public Health Ministry.

Preparations must factor in the health safety issue associated with getting buildings, teaching methods and teachers ready for the new term.

Education zone offices are duty-bound to supervise schools in their areas closely and prepare them for any crisis stemming from the pandemic after reopening, Mr Amporn said.

He said readiness levels varied. More prone to the impact of crisis are small schools with 120 students or less.

Some of these state-run schools face a shortage of teachers. In many cases, retired teachers were not replaced.

Mr Amporn said he has instructed school zone offices to survey small schools and find out how many do not have enough teachers.

Other schools with a surplus of teaching staff may be asked to re-assign teachers to schools hit by shortages.

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