The Seoul Metropolitan Government and Seoul education office said Thursday that special inspections will be conducted at English immersive kindergartens and private academies that specialize in college entrance preparations, starting Friday and going through next month.
“To halt the spread of mass infections stemming from Itaewon clubs, we will check (a combined) roughly 1,200 kindergartens taught in English, after-school SAT prep classes and large private academies to see whether they are complying with virus prevention measures,” Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said.
“Those not abiding by the guidelines will face administrative action,” he added.
His comments were made at an emergency meeting attended by Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae and Superintendent of the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education Cho Hee-yeon, to name a few, at Seoul Government Complex.
The move comes as authorities are tightening anti-virus measures at private educational institutions after an instructor in Incheon was found to have transmitted the virus to pupils, parents and a fellow instructor.
The education office will check 343 language institutes and 269 private academies with over 300 people, while the city government is responsible for approximately 600 language institutes, Seoul education office said.
English-immersive kindergartens have been operating despite the closure of schools and kindergartens -- both public and private -- as they are classified as private language centers.
“Special inspection of English-speaking kindergartens and SAT prep academies, among others, to make sure they are adhering to virus prevention measures and hagwon regulations, will be carried out until June 19,” Cho said.
The education office and the Korea Association of Hagwon are in the process of narrowing down teachers who were in Itaewon in the cited period.
As of Wednesday, six assistant teachers who are foreign nationals had voluntarily reported their visits to nightlife establishments in Itaewon, and 47 people said they had been to the area, according to the Seoul education office.
Of them, 27 have received negative test results so far, it added.
By Kim Bo-gyung (firstname.lastname@example.org