Students wear masks at HCM City University of Technology. A number of universities and high schools in HCM City have taken measures to prevent COVID-19following the discovery of several locally transmitted cases.Photo

More than 100,000 university students have been ordered to stay at home.

The decision was made after several students came in contact with a teacher of English confirmed as “Patient 1347” who became infected after contact with a friend, a Vietnam Airlines flight attendant who violated quarantine regulations during his home quarantine period, infecting three people.

The International University has allowed its students to be off for Dec 4-5, and might start online teaching from Dec 7-19. 

The midterm exams will be postponed, and students will continue to study online from December 14 to 19. Experimental and practical classes may be conducted offline, depending on class size.

Dr. Bùi Quang Hùng, vice rector of the University of Economics of HCM City, said the university switched to online learning on Dec 3 due to the complicated situation of the pandemic. 

The university has stopped all group activities, and enhanced application of hi-tech for COVID-19 prevention and control.

The HCM City University of Technology and Education plans to switch to online teaching for classes of more than 50 students. 

Smaller classes, physical education classes, and national security classes will remain offline. However, these classes are encouraged to spend 20 per cent of the time online. Teachers and students are required to wear masks in the classrooms.

The HCM City University of Education has decided to suspend all traditional classes at all of its campuses (except for the Thuận An Education Centre for Disabled Children), and switch to online learning until Dec 13. 

Lê Phan Quốc, deputy head of the HCM City University of Education’s Training Divison, said the university has urged departments and faculties to quickly switch to online teaching.

Tôn Đức Thắng University was among the first universities suspending teaching activities at its main campus at Tân Phong Campus in District 7, where there are 23,000 students. It switched to online learning on Dec 3. 

The University of Science under the Vietnam National University of HCM City switched some modules on Dec 2 to online. The school has postponed midterm exams for the first semester of the 2020-2021 academic year until further notice.

Nguyễn Tất Thành University has allowed students to be off school from Dec 3-6 and has changed to online teaching from Dec 7 for theoretical modules. Students with practical modules are allowed to be off school until further notice. 

Nguyễn Thị Xuân Dung, deputy head of Admissions, Consulting and Communication of the HCM City University of Technology, said the school allowed students to be off until Dec 6 after finding out about “Patient 1347”.

According to Dung, all the activities at the school have been postponed and the school plans to switch to online teaching if the situation becomes worse.

Online exams 

Nguyễn Thị Lệ Hằng, rector of Võ Văn Tần Primary School in District 6, said after discovering a teacher had been in contact with “Patient 1347”, the school switched to online teaching on November 30.

“Online teaching may not convey knowledge like traditional classes, but the teachers try their best to ensure students can understand the basic knowledge and skills of each lesson. If students fail to fully understand the teachers’ lessons, parents can contact the teacher for further instructions,” she said.

The school is also considering organising semester tests online, depending on the Covid-19 situation.

Hằng said primary school students will have a test at the end of term one with subjects such as maths, Vietnamese, English, and informatics. As for skills-oriented subjects such as art and music, teachers will give evaluation comments instead of scores.

Lưu Hồng Uyên, head of the Education and Training Department in District 6, said it plans to organise online testing if the situation is not better by the end of this week.

Trần Văn Luyện, rector of Hồng Bàng Secondary School, said the school has stopped all extracurricular activities and group activities until further notice.

Online learning models have become common amid the outbreak. Many schools across Việt Nam adopted online learning earlier this year when the outbreak forced thousands of students to stay home for months after the 2020 Lunar New Year holiday.

The country had gone nearly three months without local transmission until the English teacher was confirmed infected on Monday (Nov 30). He spread the virus to a nephew and a student of his.

Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has requested strict punishment for the quarantine violations that occurred in the city recently. He has demanded an investigation into the responsibility of individuals and organisations involved in the violations. 

He recommended that everyone remain calm and vigilant, and continue to follow preventive measures encouraged by the Ministry of Health, including wearing masks, washing hands thoroughly with soap or alcohol-based sanitiser, and spraying disinfectant. 

The Government has also suspended international flights and is only operating international flights for repatriated Vietnamese citizens who meet certain requirements. 

As of Dec 4, Việt Nam had recorded 1,361 cases, including 35 deaths. — VNS