Burma

Junta Closes Myanmar’s Schools Amid COVID-19 Spike

By The Irrawaddy 9 July 2021

Myanmar’s regime has closed all schools amid increasing numbers of COVID-19 death.

Myanmar has reported a surge in COVID-19 cases since late May with three highly transmissible and more severe coronavirus variants reported since early June.

But the regime insisted on its plan to reopen schools on June 1. Schools had been closed for more than a year due to the pandemic under the ousted civilian government.

Several hundred teachers and pupils have become sick at private and public schools in recent weeks. The regime has been pressuring teachers and children in some areas to attend school to avoid low attendances.

On Thursday, regime-controlled television announced that all schools, including private and monastic schools, will be closed until July 23.

An official from the Myanmar Teachers’ Federation, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Irrawaddy that the order comes too late.

He said the civilian government reopened schools cautiously after carefully introducing preventive measures, including staggered schedules to keep classes and teachers safe.

All schools’ preventative measures were inspected and only those marked “A” were allowed to reopen.

“Schools shouldn’t have reopened in the first place. But the regime wanted to show the military controls the country. It didn’t care about the dangers,” he said.

He added that without the boycott against education under the junta, the infection rate would be far higher.

Pupils and teachers have opposed the regime by refusing to return to classes despite being ordered to do so, leading to low attendances.

The regime-controlled Ministry of Health and Sports on Wednesday reported 57 COVID-19 deaths, the highest daily death toll since the coup.


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