Cambodia’s select schools to reopen in Aug

Personnel from the Marikina City sanitation office disinfects a classroom at Sta. Elena High School following the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the city on March 9. The STAR/Walter Bollozos. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

PHNOM PENH, Jul 10, 2020, The Khmer Times. A Senior Education Ministry official announced yesterday the ministry will request Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow some high-safety standard schools to reopen next month, The Khmer Times reported.

The Education Ministry said that it is in the process of reopening schools after more than a three month shutdown as part of the efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said yesterday the ministry has met with the Ministry of Health and other relevant ministries to discuss school reopenings.

He said the education institutes must ensure the measures set are observed, including social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and taking body temperatures.

Soveacha said some students should attend class while others study online after they get the approval from parents.

He added the schools must organise a medical team to monitor students regularly under the supervision of the head of the institution and ensure that staff, teachers and students are tested for COVID-19.

There will be three phases which will be implemented before schools reopen throughout the Kingdom.

“The first phase will include schools which have high preventive measures against the virus spread. The second phase will focus on schools with moderate standards and the third will be schools with minimum standards. Each class must not have more than 15 students, social distancing must be strictly enforced and other areas where contact may take place must also be eliminated,” Soveacha said

“After getting the results from the first phase, the ministry will then implement the second and third phase,” he said.

He said “the Ministry of Education will examine the measures thoroughly.”

According to the Ministry of Education’s statement last week, 15 private international schools, including Japanese, English, American and French institutes with approximately 20,000 students will be allowed to reopen first, as a test case.

School Administrator of CIA First International School Andre Struve told Khmer Times yesterday that CIA School had an inspection visit on Tuesday from the Education Ministry to see
if the school fulfils the reopening standards required. “We are now waiting for the results,” he said.

Mengly J Quach, Chairman and CEO of the Mengly J Quach Education who operates Aii Language Centers and American Intercon School said the reopening of the international schools is being undertaken first because the opening of these schools start in July and August. While, for public schools, the academic year starts in mid-October. Therefore, if the government opens the public schools now, it does not make any sense as they are still on a break.

“If the government aims to open all the private schools in August, they should inform them so that they are prepared to sort out all matters, including financial arrangements prior to opening,” Mengly said.

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