Hanoi reopening schools after Tet

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A school reopening drill at Giang Vo Secondary School in Hanoi’s Ba Dinh District on Saturday. VIET NAM NEWS

Parents in Hanoi are applauding a decision by the municipal People’s Committee to reopen schools for grades 7 to 12 from February 8.

Students have been studying online for more than eight months due to the pandemic.

Bui Tien Dung, a father in Long Bien district, said that the city had taken cautious steps in reopening schools.

“Caution was necessary when students were not fully vaccinated against Covid-19. However, it’s different now,” he said.

“After the Tet holidays is the right time for children to go back to school,” he said, adding that adults have returned to work and can go to public places, so children should too.

“Children also need to adapt and live safely with the pandemic,” Dung said.

Pham Huy Quan from Ba Dinh district said that he agreed with the decision, though he thinks that it would be better if parents had options to choose from.

“If parents agree, they will let their children go to school. Some parents will still be concerned and they should be able to let their children continue to study online at home,” he said.

“Children 12 and older have been fully vaccinated and have had enough time to achieve high levels of antibodies. Moreover, the Department of Health and Department of Education and Training also have detailed instructions on the prevention and control of Covid-19 at schools, with solutions to handle arising situations. Localities and schools have also organised pandemic prevention drills. It’s time to reopen schools – children can’t stay at home forever”, Quan shared.

Nguyen Minh Lien, a mother in Hoang Mai district, said that she was also in favour of letting students back to school.

However, she thinks it is necessary to change the criteria for assessing Covid-19 risk levels.

“Students living in areas with low risk of Covid-19 infection [labelled yellow] are allowed back to school. When their areas turn orange, or high risk, they must move back to online studying. This lack of stability affects both schools and families. The psychology of the children will be affected too,” Lien said.

Le Phan from Ha Dong district said that it was not reasonable to decide to reopen schools based on risk level assessments.

“If we rely on the risk level assessment, I have to wait to see what colour my district is – which is announced on weekends – to arrange my family activities,” he said.

“The shift between in-person learning and online learning sounds flexible and smooth, but in fact, the gap in quality of these two learning forms is still large,” he said.

According to the director of Hanoi Department of Education and Training, Tran The Cuong, the department completed the rehearsal to be ready to welcome students back to school after Tet.

“In-person learning will help boost the interaction between teachers and students and help students to absorb lessons more smoothly,” he said, calling for co-operation from parents and students to ensure the “5K” message of the health ministry and other disease preventive measures are followed.

Tran Nguyen Thai An, a student of Nghia Tan Secondary School in Cau Giay district, said that she was a little bit worried after hearing schools would return after Tet.

“Returning to school means that I will have to get up earlier, have breakfast earlier and wear a uniform. I haven’t had to do those things for a long time,” she said.

“I am looking forward to going to school to meet friends and teachers, but I don’t know what to talk about. It may take time for me to get used to in-person learning and testing as we have studied and taken online tests for three terms,” said Thai An.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK