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It's Official: Saigon Public Schools to Reopen Starting From Next Week

Masks have played a prominent role in Vietnam's fight against the spread of COVID-19, and will continue to do so moving into the new normal.

The vice chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, Tran Vinh Tuyen, has signed a plan to give free face masks to students returning to school, Tuoi Tre reports. 

Children returning to school in Saigon will be provided with nine free masks, three per month. These are antibacterial cloth masks which are reported to be washable and reusable up to 10 uses.

On April 28, municipal authorities announced that Saigon students will return to schools gradually starting from next week. In particular, Grade 9 and 12 are to come back to school on Monday, May 4. The school year will resume for students in Grade 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11 on Friday, May 8.

Primary school levels 1, 2 and 3 will return on Monday, May 11. For kindergartens and nurseries, the restarting dates are May 18 (five-year-olds), May 25 (four- and three-year-olds), and June 1 for younger children.

Allocating masks to students will increase the number of individuals receiving masks from the People's Committee to 1.4 million. Currently, 6,849 masks are being provided to sanitation workers who are regularly exposed to toxic and polluted environments.  

On April 23, the Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in HCMC issued differing safety regulations for high school students and preschool children. Particularly, preschool children will not be required to wear face masks as of the criteria set by the committee. 

Compulsory mask-wearing was an early preventive measure against the coronavirus in Vietnam. On March 16, the country made wearing masks in public compulsory for all residents in the country.

On March 27, the HCMC People's Committee issued an official directive on penalizing people who do not follow measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. According to this directive, those who do not wear face masks in public can be fined VND100,000–300,000. Vietnam Insider reported that in March, 2,500 Saigon residents were penalized for their failure to wear masks in public. 

[Photo via Dan Tri]