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Over 1,500 Schoolchildren Become Orphans Due to Saigon's Covid-19 Outbreak

The current COVID-19 crisis has crippled Saigon’s economy and disrupted the daily life of millions of people, but most tragically, it has also taken thousands of lives.

Last week, on September 14, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training presented to municipal leaders a report on how the new school year is taking place in the face of the local outbreak, according to Phu Nu.

The school year began in early September. Saigon students are taking classes online for the entirety of the first semester via virtual classrooms and pre-recorded lectures created by teachers. Very few educators or students are lucky enough to return in person.

Data from the department shows that the epidemic has caused 12,341 employees in the city’s education sector to lose their job, 10,129 of whom are kindergarten staff. At the time of the report, 10,073 students and 3,386 teachers were COVID-19 positive. Unfortunately, 1,517 students in Saigon have become orphans because of the coronavirus.

The HCMC Department of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs told SGGP that students who are F0 receive VND80,000 a day in financial assistance and a one-time relief payment of VND1 million, in addition to subsidized healthcare in accordance with the national social insurance scheme.

Returning to school is a lofty goal not just due to infection risk, but also because many local public schools have been converted into COVID-19 field hospitals and quarantine facilities. Over 14,000 education employees are also working in various pandemic efforts. One positive aspect is the overall vaccination rates for teachers, one of the earliest groups to receive their shot this year. As of September 11, 90.17% of teachers in Saigon have had one shot and 55.96% are fully vaccinated.

According to Lê Minh Tấn, the department director, children orphaned by the pandemic are eligible for social welfare in their ward: VND900,000 a month for children aged four and below and VND540,000 for those older. The assistance will last until they are 16 years old, or 22 years old for students undergoing college or vocational school programs.

In order to help the orphaned schoolchildren overcome immediate hardships, a number of organizations have started funding programs, such as one spearheaded by Thanh Nien newspaper. More details are available here (link is in Vietnamese).