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Swine Flu Scare Hampering Fall School Semester

Posted August. 25, 2009 07:28,   


Most public schools began the fall semester yesterday but classrooms were full of confusion amid fears over swine flu.

Thirty-eight schools across the country postponed the beginning of the semester or closed temporarily.

The Education, Science and Technology Ministry said 14 schools decided to close temporarily as of yesterday, up from nine the previous day.

At schools that reopened yesterday, students who felt a fever went to nurses while others took classes wearing masks.

Wolchon Elementary School in southern Seoul asked 20 students not to come to school because they had returned from overseas less than a week ago.

A mother who went to Thailand with her 11-year-old son said, “My son has been looking forward to the new semester but is very disappointed that he cannot go to school. I also didn`t send him to private institutes just in case.”

In Geoje, South Gyeongsang Province, 17 middle schools postponed the start of the semester due to fears from students and their parents. There, Sacheon High School decided to close until the end of August after one student was confirmed to have been infected with flu via domestic contagion.

Most schools let students showing suspected flu symptoms leave school early for medical treatment.

Mujin Middle School in Gwangju sent home two students with runny noses, telling them to get medical attention. “The school atmosphere has been disturbed on the first day of the new semester because of the flu,” a school official said.

In the Busan area, around 20 middle and high schools had a combined 20 students failing to show up.

Parents who sent their children to school yesterday expressed fears. A mother of a student at Jeju Joongang Girls` High School, which closed temporarily yesterday, said, “I`m not sure if I should send my child to school even if classes go on as usual.”

She was also fearful of her daughter making physical contact with classmates though she had told her daughter to avoid public places.

Many parents had their children take hand sterilizers or masks with them to school.

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