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Schools must be Covid-proofed before reopening next month: Dr Yong

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Top virologist Yong Poovorawan has issued guidelines as schools prepare to reopen for the beginning of term next month.

Yong warned that extra precautions were needed as Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases such as influenza are likely to spread among students over the rainy season from June to September.

Covid-19 can still cause severe illness and even death in children, he added. Most at risk are the under-5 age group, who are too young to be vaccinated. Children aged under 2 were especially vulnerable, Yong said.

He urged the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to consider China’s policy of vaccinating children aged 3 and over to reduce the severity of their symptoms. The FDA currently allows vaccination from the age of six.

Yong said it would be difficult to ensure young students maintained social distancing and mask-wearing, so parents and teachers must cooperate on safety when schools open.

Meanwhile, primary school students should get vaccinated before returning to school and not attend classes if they are sick.

Schools must also adopt daily screening of students via ATKs or other methods and have clear regulations for everyone to follow.

Large secondary schools or those with big class numbers should have a concrete plan for reopening.

Elderly people living in the same house as students should receive at least three doses of vaccine, otherwise they risked severe symptoms if the children brought the virus back from school.

Classrooms should be airy and well-ventilated. In air-conditioned classrooms, windows should be opened frequently or left ajar. Schools should also set up handwashing points.

Published : April 25, 2022

By : THE NATION