Some South Korean students have returned to their classrooms after an unprecedented five-month break, as schools re-open in stages with high school seniors returning first. on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.
Students lined up for temperature checks and were given sanitisers to wash their hands as they entered their various school premises while teachers greeted them with smiles and occasional elbow bumps.
Around 440,000 final-year students, who will in December take the university entrance exam, are the first to return to schools, with other years following in stages over the next weeks.
Inside the school buildings, students are asked to wipe their desks and sit apart according to social distancing guidelines, with some classes setting up partitions between desks.
A spokesman at the Incheon Metropolitan City Office of Education said 66 schools in Incheon, near Seoul, were closed and students sent home.
“Concerns over small infection clusters still remain and no one can predict what kind of situation will arise at schools,” education minister Yoo Eun-hae said.
The Education Minister stated that the country began operating a 24-hour emergency situation room this week, adding that any schools that report fresh infections will be shut immediately.
While final-year students are required to come to school every day, younger pupils will shift between online and offline classes to ensure school buildings are not overcrowded.