11 July 2024

As home and community isolation take on added significance as COVID-19 infections keep rising, with Bangkok and some other provinces experiencing severe hospital bed shortages, there is a new term to add to the list, “school isolation”.

Earlier this month, a large COVID-19 cluster was found in a boarding school, in Phra Bat sub-district, in Muang district of the northern province of Lampang, a week after it reopened. Classes managed to continue, however, after it transformed the campus using the “school isolation” model.

Chit Aree Welfare School, where over 100 infections were found among almost 1,000 students, most of whom are boarding, has been re-organised into a field hospital, withdoctors and medical personnel on site.

Students, teachers and staff are classified into three different groups and classes can be held for most of the groups.

Group A are those infected with COVID-19 and they will live separately in rooms with two beds. Group B are those with mild symptoms, or at risk of getting infected, while those who test negative and are not at risk are in Group C.

Those infected and at high-risk have to go through 28 days of quarantine, to prevent the further spread of the virus.

The school’s director explained that classes, both online and onsite, are normal for students in Group C. Those in Group B, who are under quarantine, will take online classes, while those in Group A don’t need to take any classes.

Meanwhile, the parents of one primary student, who decided to quarantine at home, explained that parents are helping with the study materials, such as going through textbooks and videos, so that they don’t miss out on their studies during the outbreak.

Many locals in Lampang province, such as those in the “Chit Aree Village” community, have been receiving donations, as well as providing food, drinks, fans, bed sheets and other necessities, and delivering them to the school, to help students and teachers who are in quarantine.