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Schools Close In Vientiane, Move To Distance Learning

Source: Vientiane Times

The Ministry of Education and Sports has ordered the closure of public and private schools in Vientiane from April 22 to May 5 as part of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The move is in line with Prime Ministerial Order No. 15/PM on the Reinforcement of Measures for the Containment, Prevention, and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The closure was ordered as the government fears a major outbreak of the virus after 28 more cases were reported on Wednesday.

All schools in the capital including kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools, vocational schools and the National University of Laos will now use remote learning so that students are able to keep up with the ministry’s education curriculum.

Pre-schools, primary schools and secondary schools have been instructed to use teaching-learning platforms such as

Meanwhile, vocational schools and universities have been encouraged to employ other platforms such as WhatsApp, Line, Zoom, Webex, Skype and Microsoft Team.

Parents, school administrators and village education authorities have been asked to help children with their schoolwork and overcome the disruption to classroom activities.

The 13-point order signed by the Minister of Education and Sports, Associate Prof. Dr Phouth Simmalavong, also bans education and sports officials from holding meetings, seminars and other activities that involve more than 20 people.

The ministry has advised administrators, teachers and students to get vaccinated against Covid-19 and to comply with the guidelines laid down by the National Taskforce Committee for the Prevention and Control of Covid-19.

This means social distancing must be maintained and everyone is urged to wash their hands with soap or gel. Students and family members who have come into contact with anyone infected with the virus should get tested and stay in quarantine.

Elsewhere, schools in Kaysone Phomvihane city, Savannakhet province, has been closed from April 21-30 after a woman who recently contracted the virus spent time in Savannakhet.

In Saravan province, authorities instructed schools in Nakhonpheng and Khongxedon districts to close temporarily after a resident of Khongxedon district tested positive for the virus.

In addition, schools in Borikhan district, Borikhamxay province, have been told to close from April 19 to May 2 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 after a local resident tested positive for the virus while in a quarantine centre.

Schools were also closed for several weeks last year at the start of the pandemic. Students across the country saw their learning paths interrupted because many do not have access to e-learning platforms or textbooks.

It is essential to ensure that students have their own textbooks, workbooks and learning materials so that they don’t fall behind.

The improvement of online studies is critical for schools to ensure that teachers and students complete the curriculum as planned.