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Uni Shows ‘New Normal’ Classrooms as Schools Set for Reopening

A classroom at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology in Bangkok.

BANGKOK — Schools and universities around Thailand are set to reopen on Wednesday amid the declining threats of the coronavirus, albeit with some new restrictions in the classrooms.

At one of Bangkok’s universities, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology, on Monday, staff demonstrate how lessons may take place in the pandemic “New Normal.” Seats are arranged to ensure physical distancing, lectures must be spread out, and janitors are instructed to disinfect the classrooms at regular intervals.

“As for the classrooms where there may normally be 70 students in a room, this won’t do since we have to ensure a four-square meter per student arrangement,” architecture faculty dean Antika Sawadsri said. “So, there may be a need to divide the class into two sessions and rotate.”

The dean said the university complies with the World Health Organization’s suggested physical distancing of 1.5 meters. Bright yellow stickers were put on the floors and tables as a guideline for students who will soon return on Aug. 3, when the new semester for King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology starts.

Workshop tables will also be installed with clear partitions so students are separated yet can still see one another. Other redesigns include increasing airflows at building’s entrance and exit points.

Although Thailand has not reported a local transmission of the coronavirus for more than 30 days, the institute rector said educational facilities must remain vigilant.

“Although local infections have been zero for a long time now, we don’t know whether the second outbreak will occur or not,” Suchatvee Suwansawat said.

Police in Bangkok said officers will be deployed at some schools in the capital on Wednesday to ensure public order during the first day of reopening.

Reference