Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing

Around 1,408 Class IX to Class XII students of four schools in Phuentsholing, including one private school are expected to leave for their new schools in Punakha, Wangdue and Dorokha in Samtse starting today.

They have sat for Covid-19 tests yesterday.  Results are expected early morning today.

Should everything go as per the plan, 826 students from Phuentsholing HSS (PHSS) and Norbu Academy will leave today. About 36 teachers from PHSS and 27 from Norbu Academy will accompany the students.

Buses, boleros and trucks have been arranged from both Phuentsholing and Thimphu to drop the students and teachers.

About 19 buses will take 561 PHSS students to Punakha and Wangdue, while separate three buses, a bolero and a truck have been arranged for carrying their luggage.

The 265 students of Norbu Academy will be taken to Dorokha in 11 buses.

The next batch of 582 students from Phuentsholing MSS and Sonamgang MSS will be taken tomorrow.

The education ministry recently announced that a total of 1,580 students from these schools in the bordering town will be relocated. However, this figure is the total number of students in six schools in Phuentsholing.

Students from two schools, Chumithang MSS and Yonten Kuenjung Academy will not be relocated as these schools are outside Phuentsholing town and can be managed.

Meanwhile, students from PHSS, PMSS and SMSS will be relocated at Punakha and Wangdue in Shengana Lower Secondary School (LSS), Thinleygang Primary School (PS), and Kuruthang Middle Secondary School (MSS). In Wangdue, students will be relocated at Wangdue PS.

Yesterday, hundreds of students and their parents came out in the town for shopping. The task force had given yesterday as an extra day for shopping as many students were unable to shop on the first day on September 12.

Initially, only a few identified shops were allowed to open for students to shop but more shops were allowed yesterday, including garments shops.

A class XI student Dawa of Norbu Academy said, “Studying from home wasn’t effective as studying from campus,” he said.

“There are families at home and disturbances. It is totally different studying at home.”

Yesterday, Dawa had bought a fresh set of mattress, bed sheets, pillows, and toiletries.

Sangay Norbu, who is sending his son to Khuruthang, said, “Relocation is the best decision.”

On their journey to school, students will have to carry their own packed meals as they will not be allowed to buy on the way. All other safety protocols have to be followed.

After reaching to their respective schools, students and teachers will have to undergo a week in quarantine within their respective schools.

Lockdown relaxation 

Meanwhile, Phuentsholing residents have been allowed to move without movement permits until 7pm since September 11. From today, the third phase of lockdown relaxation begins.

Movement of public transport (taxis and city buses) will be allowed from today at half passenger capacity.

However, public gathering or outdoor activities like picnics, hiking, or visiting spiritual sites are not allowed.

During the third phase, shops that cater to electronic services, printing and furniture will also be allowed to operate. Those with higher risks such as barbershops, non-essential shops such as garments and footwear shops will not be allowed.

During the fourth phase, which starts from September 17 until September 19, the movement of private vehicles will be allowed. All government offices will also be opened during this time.