On-site classes in Thailand can resume under new guidelines, exams for COVID-19 cases allowed
The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has issued a set of guidelines for on-site learning, to enable schools to resume classes as normal, while COVID-19 infections surge.
CCSA Spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin said today (Wednesday) that a decision has been made to allow schools to resume on-site classes after having assessed that infections among those aged up to 19 account for 21% of all infections in the country, which is not considered especially high, while the numbers of severe cases and fatalities among them are very low and preventive measures at schools are adequate.
For day schools, Dr. Taweesin said that students regarded as being at low risk can attend classes, while those are at high risk must be isolated at home for seven days, plus three additional days under observation, until they are shown to be clear of infection by means of two rapid antigen tests. During the isolation period, he said schools must arrange for proper classes for them.
In case students are found to be infected at school, the school in question is required to follow the measures already defined by the Ministry of Public Health and to arrange for school isolation, with the consent of parents of students, community leaders and health officials.
For boarding schools, low-risk students are allowed to attend on-site classes, whereas those considered high risk will attend special classes and undertake activities in a quarantined zone, under a “sandbox” safety scheme, for seven days, plus an additional three days for observation.
COVID-19 tests must be taken immediately if any student develops symptoms. Those who have been in close contact with the infected must be tested on the 5th or 6th day of contact, followed by a second test on the 10th day after contact. Appropriate learning systems must be arranged for these students.
“Sandbox” safety systems should be applied at the boarding school, in close consultation with health authorities.
Regarding examinations, Dr. Taweesin said that the Department of Health has assured that schools can hold examinations and infected students, who have no or mild symptoms, can attend the exams separately. They must wear face masks, wash their hands before and after the exams with sanitiser, observe social distancing and must not talk during the exams. They should travel to schools in private cars.
He said schools must coordinate with health offices in their localities to provide screenings and counselling at the exam locations.