Phnom Penh: After almost seven months of closure, the capital’s secondary schools started reopening on Wednesday morning. 68 public schools decided to reopen on Wednesday, having received permission from the Education Ministry to resume in-person learning. Their students all say they’re glad to be finally back in class.
As early as 6am, they were waiting in line to enter Chea Sim Santhor Mok High School. Vaccination cards were checked one by one. Temperatures were also taken and masks were required. Hands were sprayed with sanitizer. They could then make their way to class, where capacity has been capped at 15 students. Prior to class proper, teachers explained how students can protect themselves against Covid-19.
Teachers and students all told EAC News how grateful they were to finally see each other after all this time. Teacher, Phay Thet says, “The school re-opening makes us teachers happy because we feel pity for the students in grade 9 and 12. They are graduating students. They don’t really learn much from studying online. But now with face-to-face class, I believe this will motivate them to study hard.” Student Thong Lay Eliza told us, “I am happy because now I can meet my old friends and we are now back to studying physically.” Her friend, Phol Ratana, feels the same, “I feel happy because I finally got to meet up with my teachers and my friends.”
Teachers were all tested ahead of the reopening. According to the Phnom Penh Capital Administration, just 24 teachers out of 10,419 were discovered to be Covid-19 positive. The Provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sports is cooperating with the capital’s Department of Health to treat those teachers, although they are all asymptomatic.
For now, class capacity has been capped at 15 to allow for social distancing. This paired back in-person teaching is being implemented at 227 schools approved by the Phnom Penh Capital Administration for reopening. Most schools will have opened by early next week.