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Young elementary students to return to school in March

Posted January. 27, 2021 07:32,   

Updated January. 27, 2021 07:32


The South Korean Ministry of Education announced that kindergartens and special schools will reopen in March. It also said elementary schools will welcome back young students, most likely first and second graders, in the same month, to whom “school density” rules might not apply. The ministry said it would go ahead with the plan even if COVID-19 cases rise.

“This year will see schools reopen, which will bring back a sense of normalcy to schools,” said Education Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Yoo Eun-hye speaking at the 2021 policy briefing on Tuesday. The move came after South Korean President Moon Jae-in asked for providing face-to-face classes more.

To make this happen, the Ministry of Education and public health authorities are reviewing the possibility of exempting young elementary students from social distancing rules. Schools are allowed to open only for two thirds in the first phase of social distancing and one third (two thirds for high schools) in the second phase. It may be possible that students in other grades can all return to school except for those in the low grades in elementary school.

The ministry, however, has not yet decided whether to include the third grade in the low grades. It is likely only first and second graders will return to school. Elementary schools will not open for all students even if students in the low grades will be exempt from social distancing rules. It is highly likely for schools to remain open for students in senior year as they did last year.

Ye-Na Choi yena@donga.com · Su-Yeon Kim sykim@donga.com