UPDATE: On Tuesday (Feb 25), Rob Peters, Director of QSI Phuket, confirmed to The Phuket News that a new order from the Ministry of Education had added Vietnam and Malaysia to the list of risk areas.
Also on Tuesday, Kajonkiet International School, Phuket (KIS) issued a letter to parents, staff and students informing them that any persons travelling from or even transiting through Iran or Italy were now also asked to impose a 14-day self-quarantine.
All major international schools across Phuket have issued notices informing parents, teachers and students involved with their schools of the expanded requirements, which have seen South Korea, Singapore and Macau added to the list initially issued earlier this month.
"On Sunday, February 23 at approximately 4:30pm we received notice from the Thailand Department of Disease Control (DDC) that the country has implemented new 14-day self-quarantine measure for staff and students of educational institutions who have travelled to the following coronavirus affected countries since 8 February," explained Head of UWC Thailand Jason McBride in his notice.
The seven areas that require 14-day self-quarantine now comprise: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Macau.
“Please note that as a result of this announcement, Grade 4 and 5 camps and Multicultural Day have been postponed until further notice,” Mr McBride added.
“If your child has travelled to any of the affected regions since 8 February… They will be required to remain on a 14-day leave of absence at home in self-quarantine (the incubation period for the virus, as advised by the Ministry of Health). The 14 days begins on the day after return to Thailand.
“If a household member has travelled to an affected country and is unwell, the child must remain at home until the sick adult is cleared of having coronavirus,” he urged.
“Students who have not travelled to the listed destinations can return to school as normal on Monday, 24 February.
“Parents will be expected to be especially vigilant about ensuring unwell students are kept at home. Your child’s temperature will be taken each day to ensure they are fever-free. Students should be fever-free (temperature below 37.5ºC) without medication, and without respiratory symptoms such as coughing and sneezing, for 24 hours or more before returning to school. We know these measures are inconvenient, but the health of our whole community depends on this care from each of us,” Mr McBride explained.
The COVID-19 situation has resulted in all visitors to the school being will be screened, including ad-hoc service partners, and resulted in the cancellation of some mass-gathering events, namely the Grade 4 & 5 camps and the school’s Multicultural Day have been postponed.
“We are currently working on the best way to support students who may need to be away from school as this depends on how many students in our community are affected. These measures also impact a number of our staff who travelled on the break, so please bear with us as we work on solutions,” Mr McBride noted.
A similar letter was issued by Kajonkiet International School, Phuket (KIS), explaining the order issued by Education Minister Natthaphon Thepsuwan.
“We require your support in keeping your child(ren) at home for a period of 2 weeks, to monitor their health for any related symptoms If you or your child(ren) have developed any of the associated symptoms, please report to the school immediately. A medical certificate will then be required stating your child(ren) are fit to return to school," the letter read.
“The school does not allow any teachers, staff and students to make any travel arrangement to China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore or Japan in the period 23 February - 10 May 2020," the letter added.
Rob Peters, Director of QSI Phuket, confirmed to The Phuket News that his school also received the notice, and passed on the requirements to parents, teachers and students in a letter from the school.
“Yesterday we received notice from the Ministry of Education and the Thailand Department of Disease Control (DDC) that the country has implemented new 14-day self-quarantine for staff and students in all schools in Thailand who have travelled to the following coronavirus affected countries since February 8,” Mr Peters explained to The Phuket News.
“If your child has travelled to any of the above-affected regions since Feb 14, please email us at email@example.com and provide us with details of your trip and your return date to Thailand. The Ministry of Health and The Ministry of Education have required you to remain home for 14-day self-quarantine. The first day starts the day after you return to Thailand. Everyone must strictly follow this directive in order to prevent the spreading of COVID-19.
“Before returning to school, each student must present their passport copy with an entry stamp for proof of quarantine. If a household member has travelled to an affected country and has shown symptoms, the child must remain at home until that adult is cleared of having coronavirus,” Mr Peters explained.
“When we return to school next week, we follow procedures as last month, and everyone entering the campus will have their temperature taken each day to ensure they are fever-free. We will also send any student home who shows symptoms of illness.
“We ask that everyone associated with QSI Phuket be vigilant for the safety of all members of our community. We ask that any student or parent presenting a fever or any respiratory symptoms remain off campus until they are fully recovered. Before returning to the campus, the individual should be fever free without medication and without respiratory symptoms such as coughing for more than 24hrs.
“Please keep in mind these measures need to be taken to protect the health of our entire community,” Mr Peters wrote.
“QSI worldwide is prepared for these events, and if we need to take further action, we are capable of teaching online. For now, we are looking for ways to support the students who will need to be quarantined,” he added.
Adam Drew, Headmaster at HeadStart International School, also issued a notice to all parents teachers and students at that school.
“If you or your children have visited these places since the 8th of February, please do not risk the health and safety of our community by entering the school facilities,” he wrote.
“There will be about eight members of our teaching staff who will be unable to return to school until the 9th of March. Therefore there will be some modifications to class teachers, and changes to our programmes. Whilst we hope to minimise these, I hope you understand that this is something unavoidable," Mr Drew explained
“To that end, Football and Swim Academies will be cancelled for two weeks.
"All trips until the Songkran break requiring air transport will be cancelled. Any payments will be fully refunded," he added.
The Phuket News understands that all schools in Phuket have been issued the notice and have been implementing health safeguards since the beginning of February.