After two-month closure, South Korean schools slowly reopen
Hundreds of thousands of South Korean students returned to school yesterday as educational establishments started reopening after a coronavirus delay of more than two months.
Students lined up for temperature checks and were given sanitizer to wash their hands as they entered school premises while teachers greeted them with smiles and occasional elbow bumps.
“It’s really exciting to meet my friends and teachers face to face, but we have to strictly follow the disinfection guidelines,” said Oh Chang-hwa, student president of Kyungbock High School in Seoul.
“I am very worried but it’s still nice to see them again.”
South Korea endured one of the worst early outbreaks of the coronavirus in the world, prompting officials to delay the reopening of schools in early March.
But it appears to have brought its outbreak under control thanks to an extensive “trace, test and treat” program.
Around 440,000 final-year students, who will in December take the university entrance exam that is crucial in the education-obsessed country, are the first to return, with other years following in stages over the next several weeks.
Inside, students were asked to wipe their desks and sit apart according to social-distancing guidelines, with some classes setting up partitions between desks.
But 66 schools in Incheon, the city near Seoul, were closed soon after reopening and their students were sent back to home after two pupils were diagnosed with the virus, a spokesman at the Incheon Metropolitan City Office of Education said.