Students won’t be tested before returning to school

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A teacher performs a temperature check on students before they enter their classrooms on January 29, 2020. Heng Chivoan

Students will not be tested for Covid-19 before resuming studies at 20 schools in Phnom Penh and some provinces after parents protested, saying the tests are not necessary.

Ministry of Education spokesman Ros Soveacha told The Post on Monday the ministry agreed with the Ministry of Health about the Covid-19 testing during the phase-one reopening and decided not to proceed with it.

The move was also endorsed by Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“If students, parents or staff members have returned from an overseas trip before early June or have not travelled outside of Cambodia, they do not need to undergo a Covid-19 test,” Soveacha said.

The decision came after parents protested last week, saying they were worried the testing could hurt children’s noses and was not necessary because students have to travel back and forth every day from home to school.

The protest began after parents received letters from schools saying the education ministry required parents to agree to the testing before students could enter school campuses. Schools also required parents to pay $100 to $110 for testing per student.

Soveacha said the ministry always considers constructive criticism from relevant sides.

A letter from a private international school seen by The Post on Monday said it had withdrawn the testing agreement.

However, the letter said before sending their children to school, parents had to accept a six-point agreement such as explaining to children to consistently practice hygiene protocols, paying the full school tuition and taking weekly turns between school study and online.

If students fail to follow the guidelines of the school and the education ministry, the school has the right to stop students from entering school campuses.

Parents also had to attest that no family members had travelled abroad or contacted passengers from abroad from June 1.