Private educational institutions have been allowed to reopen from December 29 while the 2020-2021 academic year for public schools will resume on January 11, according to a notice from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.
All schools are required to continue implementing health safety measures.
In a statement, minister Hang Chuon Naron said the decision applied to all private schools which had previously been permitted to open during the first and second phases of reopening earlier this year.
“Private educational establishments that received permission from the ministry must continue to carry out the standard procedures for reopening in the context of Covid-19. Students must be socially and physically distanced. When necessary, students must wear face masks on the campuses,” he said.
Public schools will follow the same guidelines when reopening. Students could again be required to wear masks at school in the event of a new outbreak.
In his December 29 address to the nation announcing the official conclusion of the November 28 community incident – a reference to the first confirmed case of Covid-19 local transmission – Prime Minister Hun Sen said it was time to begin reopening schools.
School closures have a taken a huge toll on Cambodia and the world alike, the prime minister said. He noted that while some children had been able to continue attending schools and some had been able to take classes online, many others were completely without such opportunities.
“I have approved the request by Chuon Naron on December 29, and January 11 is set for resuming the 2020-2021 academic year,” Hun Sen said.
He described the complex circumstances the world is facing as the “new normal” and instructed the education and health ministries to continue cooperating and innovating solutions that will keep the Covid-19 infection at bay.
“If we depend only on health workers, teachers and students to deal with the new normal without addressing it ourselves, we will have a problem. We must determine how best to proceed with the academic year,” Hun Sen said.
Following Hun Sen’s address, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training also announced that technical and vocational institutions would also be allowed to reopen, effective immediately.