The suggestion was stated by Nguyen Van Hieu, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Education and Training, during a meeting of the municipal People’s Council on Tuesday.

During the meeting, Hieu revealed that the People’s Committee had approved the department’s proposal to maintain the tuition rate from the 2020-21 school year for the next two semesters.

The department also liaised with relevant agencies to waive tuition fees and provide financial support for certain students.

A new initiative, which distributes free lunches to kindergarteners, will also be introduced in the upcoming 2021-22 school year and is expected to last four years.

Considering the prolonged effect that the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking on city households, the department suggested that the People’s Committee either extend tuition due dates or waive the fee for K-12 schools for the next semester as financial relief for students and their parents.

Speaking of the 2021-22 education plan, Hieu pointed out that the city is utilizing 249 school facilities as quarantine centers, while 453 are used as COVID-19 testing and inoculation sites.

Since the fourth coronavirus wave emerged in Vietnam on April 27, Ho Chi Minh City has reported nearly 2,000 teachers and 6,000 students as either COVID-19 patients or direct contacts of confirmed cases.

In light of the threat of infection, in-person classes will not yet be resumed whereas online learning will be considered a regular solution for education during the ongoing pandemic rather than a situational alternative like in the previous school year.

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have recently announced the plan for the coming academic year, with middle schools, high schools, and other education facilities commencing teaching on September 1 and ending the school year within the last three days of May 2022.

They will spend a few days organizing classes and helping students brush up on their knowledge before officially implementing the first semester’s curriculum on September 6, according to the plan.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest coronavirus hotspot at the moment, has recorded 184,872 local COVID-19 cases in this fourth wave.

K-12 schools in the city have been closed down since May 10 over fears of COVID-19 spread, which forced all classes to be moved to cyberspace.

The southern metropolis has undergone weeks of strict social distancing, which requires schools, public transport, and non-essential businesses to be shuttered.

According to