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Schools in Cambodia reopen after 6 months as coronavirus situation eases

November 17, 2020

Original Article: https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/schools-in-cambodia-reopen-after-6-months-as-coronavirus-situation-eases-120090700342_1.html

Education Minister Hang Chuon Naron said in an earlier statement that schools must strictly adhere to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health to curb the virus spread.

He said teachers and students must wear face masks, have their body temperature checked, regularly wash hands with soap or alcohol and gel-based sanitisers and keep social distancing of 1.5 metres in classrooms.

The Minister said that anyone whose body temperature is higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius will not be allowed to enter the school.

"The number of students in a classroom must not be more than 20 to 25," Chuon Naron said, adding that the schools can arrange students to attend school two or three days a week and to do the rest of their learning at home.

Cambodia has seen success in controlling the spread of COVID-19. The Southeast Asian country has recorded a total of 274 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, said a Ministry of Health's statement on Monday, adding that none have died and 272 have recovered.

In addition, about 400 private schools have gradually reopened since last month out of 600 applicants for “stage two” reopenings, the Education Ministry said on Thursday.

Phnom Penh’s Bamboo International School and Home of English International School were among schools that opened their doors to students for the first time on Thursday, the first day of the new month, since Covid-19 closures six months ago.

“This is what we’ve been waiting for,” said Bamboo’s administration manager, Sok Ngeem. “The school has waited a long time to reopen.”

The country’s schools were shut nationwide on March 16 amid the coronavirus pandemic. A small group of 20 private schools were reopened on August 1 as a pilot, followed by selective reopenings in September.

Education Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha said that the second stage of reopenings began on September 8 and would go until the beginning of November.

So far 600 schools had applied to reopen, and 400 were approved following an inspection, he said.

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