Thai nursery school pupils forced to learn in perspex boxes

Abbianca Makoni
·2-min read
Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images
Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

School pupils in Thailand are playing and studying in makeshift plastic cubicles to comply with strict social distancing measures.

Children as young as six in Wat Khlong Toey School in Bangkok, which reopened a month ago, study behind perspex boxes and play with toys alone in screened-in areas.

The measures come after schools were given the green light by the Thai government to reopen from the start of July as long as they abide by social distancing requirements.

Authorities recommended class sizes be restricted to 20 to 25 students while doorknobs, desks and other areas at risk of spreading infection must be sanitised multiple times throughout the day.

Pupils are given face masks to wear as soon as they enter their school gates and face shields are provided in some cases as an extra measure.

Other measures implemented by education institutions across the country include installing sinks and soap dispensers outside each classroom and creating social distancing screens in lunch areas.

One school, 31 miles north of Bangkok called Sam Khok, forced its nearly 5,000 students to self-quarantine at home for 15 days prior to the re-start in July as an extra precaution, Principal Chuchart Thiengtham said.

Students must also have their temperatures checked and a facial recognition scanner automatically sends a message to parents, he told Reuters.

The school has also turned cardboard ballot boxes used in elections into partitions to ensure social distancing between desks.

One student, Kanlaya Srimongkhol, said she feels "good" studying behind the box because it makes her feel "safer" returning to school.

A total of 58 people in Thailand have died with coronavirus and there have been 3,351 infections - a low toll despite becoming the first country outside China to detect an infection in mid-January.

But the country has delayed plans for a 'travel bubble' agreement with certain countries as the number of new cases rises in parts of Asia.

'We are delaying discussion of travel bubble arrangements for now given the outbreak situation in other countries,' Thailand's coronavirus taskforce spokesman, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, told Reuters.

China, Australia and Hong Kong have all reported rising coronavirus figures and in late July Vietnam detected its first locally transmitted cases since April.