With the 2020-2021 school year almost here, many parents, teachers, and school boards are grappling with how to return students and staff safely back to the classroom while we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. With their mask-policy and strict social distancing guidelines, this Thai school may have figured it out.
Thai School’s Perspex Boxes
Imagine learning and playing at school within the confines of a perspex box. That is the reality for kindergarten students at Wat Khlong Toey School in Bangkok, Thailand, as well as most other schools around the country. (1)
When you go inside one of their classrooms, which reopened in July, you will see mask-wearing children playing individually with toys behind box-looking perspex barriers. The kindergarten students aren’t the only ones in boxes. All other students at the school sit in desks that are also enclosed in perspex boxes. If they have to get out of their desk to sing or recite anything, there are squares drawn on the floor where they have to stand, in order to keep a safe distance from other students. (1)
Other safety measures in place include (1):
- Sink and soap dispensers installed outside of every classroom
- Social distancing screens in classrooms and lunch areas
- Hand sanitization states
- Temperature scanners and hand sanitizer at the entrance
After being open for one month, the school has reported zero cases of the virus so far. (1)
Strict Safety Measures at Thai Schools
The Wat Khlong Toey school isn’t the only one in Thailand that is taking coronavirus safety seriously. (1)
At the Sam Khok school a little over 30 miles from Bangkok, students had to quarantine at home for 15 days prior to their first day back at school. Upon arrival at the school each day, they have their temperature checked and a message about each child’s status is sent automatically to their parents using a facial recognition scanner. (1)
The Sam Khok school has turned to using ballot boxes normally used for elections as partitions between desks to keep students separate and students are handed masks by teachers every day before entering the school. (1)
A Success Story
Overall, Thailand has been a success story so far in the coronavirus pandemic. Prior to reopening the schools, it had been over 30 days since they had a locally transmitted case. Despite being the first country outside of China to detect a case, they had only 3,173 infections and 58 deaths. (1)
As countries around the world are planning to reopen their schools, perhaps they should consider some of Thailand’s guidelines when considering how to keep their staff and students safe.
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