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Asia Minute: Schools Opening in Thailand

AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit
Students wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, attend a class at Wat Klongtoei School in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, Feb. 1, 2021.

One of the questions surrounding the pandemic is when students should return to in-classroom learning. The answers are mixed, both here in Hawaii and in places from Chicago to California. It's also a matter of debate in Thailand, where most classes are moving ahead this week.


Thailand’s school classrooms have started the path to a gradual re-opening. This week, schools are starting in-person instruction in areas where the pandemic is not currently widespread or growing, and where classes had been suspended.

That’s currently 28 provinces out of the country’s total of more than 70 provinces.

The Education Ministry had kept schools closed across those provinces after the New Year’s holiday — a popular time for travel. Authorities extended that closure and limited school activities for a full month to prevent any community spread.

One area where schools remain closed — a location not far from Bangkok which has suffered from several recent clusters and which remains under tighter restrictions.

Thailand’s Education Minister told state television that if the number of infections rises in other provinces at a rate of more than 500 new cases a day, adjustments will be made.

One other recently announced adjustment: students will move on to their next level of education without taking final exams.

The Education Minister says the pandemic has made it very difficult to maintain consistency with standardized tests, and he hopes this step will allow teachers to focus on the individual abilities of their students.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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