A class of students wearing masks takes this year's nationwide examination at a high school in Suwon, 46 km south of Seoul, on March 25, 2021. (Yonhap)
The education ministry is looking at fully resuming in-person classes in the fall, an official said Wednesday, as online classes have been blamed for widening learning gaps between children.
Currently, schools follow the government's COVID-19 guidelines in determining how many students are allowed to learn in-person while the rest study remotely. The proportions range from up to two-thirds capacity to online only, depending on the social distancing level in place.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the ministry is preparing for when the government introduces new COVID-19 social distancing rules, which it has said will happen in July if the country's daily caseload remains below 1,000.
"In tandem with the new social distancing guidelines, we're looking at fully reopening schools in the second semester, as much as is feasible," the official said, referring to all grades from kindergarten through Grade 12.
The considerations come amid growing concerns that some children are being left behind in their learning and social development due to increased remote learning since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ministry has consistently pushed for expanding in-person classes, with school faculty and staff expected to be fully vaccinated before the start of the second semester in September.
"We plan to discuss the specifics in terms of how to implement the new social distancing rules (at schools) and how to strengthen antivirus measures," the official said. (Yonhap)