No closure of class or school in Thailand if COVID-19 infection is detected

The Department of Health has clarified that no class or school will be shut down if a student, teacher or member of school staff is found to be infected with COVID-19 or if a high-risk person is exposed to an infected individual, according to the department’s Deputy Director-General Dr. Sarawut Boonsook, as Thailand’s new school term starts tomorrow (Tuesday).

Dr. Sarawut said that, in case a student, a teacher or other staff is found to be infected, the school management and health officials will jointly work out measures, including isolation at schools, to deal with the problem. If the infected student has no symptoms or only mild symptoms, they can attend class as deemed appropriate, but must be seated at least two metres from the other students and barred from group activities. The classroom must be well ventilated and disinfected, he said.

For a low-risk case at day schools, on-site class can open as normal, but must observe the “universal protection” measures and be assessed under the “Thai Save Thai” program. Low-risk students can attend class, but must be seated one metre from others.

For a high-risk case, who is unvaccinated, whether they have symptoms or not, the student is advised to be home-quarantined for five days, with another five days under observation, he said.

For a high-risk case who is fully vaccinated and does not exhibit any symptoms, they can attend class, he added.

For high-risk cases at boarding schools, the students will take lessons and engage in activities in the quarantine zone for five days, plus another five days under observation. Those who are fully vaccinated and do not exhibit symptoms, they don’t need to be quarantined, he added.

Meanwhile, Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Kiattibhoom Vongrachit advised teachers, students, their parents and other school staff who travelled during the long weekend to self-administer rapid antigen tests before classes resume tomorrow, because they may have unknowingly exposed themselves to COVID-infected people.

He also said, however, that such tests are not mandatory, but just a recommendation, adding that rapid antigen tests on weekly basis, or every 3-5 days for students and teachers, are not mandatory either.

Dr Kiattibhoom admitted that the Public Health Ministry is concerned about the possible spread of COVID-19, particularly the easily transmissible Omicron variant, by travellers who may not know that they were exposed. In case any of them test positive, he said they should receive medical treatment.

He said that basic safety measures, such as social distancing, regular hand washing, cleanliness, the wearing of face masks all the time and avoidance of congested gatherings will be strictly enforced at schools, while booster vaccine shots are recommended for students aged 12-17 and vaccination for children aged 5-11.



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