As the Covid-19 situation eases, 44 public secondary schools in eight districts of Siem Reap province reopened on October 18, with 129 primary schools set to follow on October 20.

“It’s the pilot reopening of 9th and 12th grades,” said Siem Reap provincial Department of Information director Liv Sokhon on October 18, adding that the schools are in Banteay Srei, Svay Leu, Sotr Nikum, Prasat Bakong, Srei Snam, Varin, Angkor Thom and Kralanh districts.

Deputy provincial governor Pov Piseth said that before deciding to reopen schools, officials spent time inspecting and evaluating the situation. Only schools in low-risk districts will reopen, with no more than 15 students in one class, and schools must follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ministry of Health.

Prior to schools reopening, the provincial administration inspected all teachers and students in those districts for full vaccination. They also checked whether schools were applying hand sanitising and installing temperature measuring equipment. The authorities also required students to wear masks at all times.

Siem Reap provincial Department of Education director Ly Bunna said when in-person learning was unavailable, distance learning was carried out in accordance with the ministry’s guidelines. Urban and rural areas, organised into community-based diversity, made these activities a practice as well.

“The school reopening involves 14 high schools and 30 secondary schools. Each classroom has no more than 15 students, and the conditions or measures for reopening are determined by the committee or local authorities, with the participation of all stakeholders,” he said.

Bunna added that the reopening of schools on October 18 followed the education ministry’s guidelines, along with additional guidelines on hygiene standards, the implementation of the three dos and 3 don’ts, vaccinations for students and education staff and testing teachers for Coivd-19 before reopening.

“In order for the learning process to run smoothly, the involvement of students’ parents or guardians in monitoring their children’s health and activities is of the utmost importance,” he said.

According to the provincial hall, Siem Reap has 420 state and public kindergartens, 514 primary schools, 82 middle schools and 41 high schools.