While thousands of schools across Thailand will reopen for in-person classes Monday, public schoolyard gates in Pattaya will remain closed until students, their parents and teachers can be put in a “bubble” to protect them from Covid-19, the city’s schools chief said.
While neither Pattaya City, Chonburi Province nor the central government require students to be vaccinated at all, let alone their parents, the worrywarts in city hall are scared that reopening classrooms will spark another Covid-19 outbreak – even though last year schools opened without problems when there were no vaccines.
“Students ages 12-17 whose parents have opted them into getting a Covid-19 vaccine will receive their second dose on Nov. 9 or 10,” noted Education Department Director Weerawat Kudtaleng.
Until then, students fortunate enough to have good enough computers, tablets and internet access will be pushed back into online learning. Those who don’t? They’ll fall even farther behind than they already have.
Ultimately, it will be up to the Chonburi Public Health Department to signal when schools are safe to reopen even though new cases in Pattaya have numbered fewer than 50 a day for a week, Weerawat said.
The reopening debate only pertains to sixth-graders and up. Children under age 12 aren’t going back to school anytime in the near future, as they currently can’t be vaccinated, the education director said.
Before any school can reopen, Weerawat said, it must pass an assessments to ensure teachers, students, staff and parents “will be safe and protected from Covid-19.”
He said the assessment will require all students’ family members to be fully vaccinated, undergo regular testing and that students commute to school in a “safe and sealed route”.
The clearly delusional schools chief believes students, teachers and parents can survive in a “bubble environment” and that everyone will want a vaccine and will abandon bicycles, baht buses and other means of getting to school.
At that rate, campuses may never reopen.
The fairytale measures only apply to Pattaya’s 11 public schools – including Koh Larn where the city claims 100 percent of residents and students are vaccinated – and two public preschools.