The Cambodian Authorities Maintain School Closure as a Measure against COVID-19

Students walk on the grounds of a primary school as the government announced the closure of education institutions over the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Phnom Penh on March 14, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

Any change will be dictated by the government’s strategy against the disease, a ministry’s spokesperson says  

PHNOM PENH--The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport is closely monitoring the situation regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) regionally as well as globally in order to make a decision on school resumption, a ministry spokesperson said on April 25. 

Dy Khamboli, spokesperson for the ministry, said that the ministry has been constantly consulting on the possibility of reopening schools while awaiting direction from the government, according to Agence Kampuchea Presse, the government press agency.

Khamboli’s comments come as the country has reported no new COVID-19 case in 14 days—as of April 26—and the total number of cases identified in the country remains at 122. 

Even though Cambodia has experienced a slowdown in infection, the health authorities continue to warn the public of a possible second wave of coronavirus infection if people are neglectful, which is why a decision to relax restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the disease, such as reopening schools, may take some time. 

In the meantime, Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron has urged parents and guardians to assist and support students’ self-studies at home and to help them take advantage of courses set up online by the ministry while schools are closed.

“Don’t think that you don’t know or know less than your children and you can’t help them,” Naron told parents and guardians in a statement on April 24. Instead, he said, “think that it is…encouraging [for them] when you stay close to your children while they are learning.” 

The minister also advised parents and guardians to install televisions, computers or tablets with internet connection at home so their children can take advantage of online learning. 

Cambodia announced nationwide school closures covering all educational institutions at all levels, both public and private, on March 16 as part of the country’s efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19. On April 19, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport extended school closure until further notice. 

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