With the nation seeing a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases, education minister Yoo Eun-hae announced on Tuesday that all students in the capital region are to stay at home and study online, starting Wednesday.
“All schools including kindergartens, elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and schools for the disabled in Seoul, Gyeonggi-do Province, and Incheon will return to remote learning from August 26th to September 11th.”
For a duration of 17 days, students from all grades will go back to remote learning.
But, schools with less than 60 students can decide whether to close or not based on the COVID-19 situation in their local area.
Over the past two weeks, one-hundred-50 students as well as 43 teachers and faculty members have tested positive in the greater Seoul area.
In other regions, there have been three-hundred-81 COVID-19 cases reported from schools since May 20th, and as of Tuesday, 21-hundred schools have closed.
However, this emergency policy does not apply to high school seniors due to the upcoming national university entrance exam in December.
As the exam is just one-hundred days away, there is a lot of confusion and worry among students, parents and teachers.
“I’ve been going back and forth over whether or not to send my children to a private institute over fears that they could fall behind when not at school.”
Due to closure of many private institutes, students are struggling to focus on their studies.
The Education Ministry said they are preparing for the college entrance exam in the worst case scenario, but admit it would be difficult for students to take non-contact exams.
For now at least, the ministry says the test will still go ahead on December 3rd.
Choi Won-jong, Arirang News.