Students will have to learn online when the new term opens in Bangkok and in provinces with the highest rates of COVID-19 infections, said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
No on-site learning is permitted at schools in the four provinces in the dark red zone, where infections are heaviest, when the new term starts on 14th June, said CCSA assistant spokeswoman Apisamai Srirangson.
The provinces are Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.
The opening of a new term has been postponed twice due to the onset of the third wave of COVID-19 in April.
Dr Srirangson said schools in the four provinces are free to adopt online learning or resort to on-air education where classes are broadcast on TV via dedicated channels, with assignments and homework delivered to students’ homes.
The Education Ministry last month announced on-demand learning materials are being increased, along with the production and distribution of workbooks that students can use at home. Dr Srirangson said 17 other provinces in the red zone, where infections are moderately heavy, could go for a hybrid system the combines on-site, online and on-air learning methods.
The schools that allow students to return to on-site classes must first pass the Thai Stop COVID Plus standard, which gauges their readiness to conduct education in a safe environment, she said. After passing the criteria, they need to secure permission to reopen from the provincial communicable disease office, she added.
In Bangkok, parents and teachers have been in contact through the Line chat app which complements online learning, Dr Srirangson said.
The Line chat has enabled communication between students, their parents and teachers while also allowing schools to distribute assignments and students to submit their homework, she said. For many schools, the system has been undergoing trials since 17th May when the term was slated to have been reopened.
“The CCSA meeting has also been told that almost 60% of teachers, staff, handymen and security guards at schools nationwide have been vaccinated against COVID-19,” she said.
Meanwhile, online education has caused problems for many parents including those who cannot afford the expense associated with the learning platform, says the Kasikorn Research Centre.