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Mass COVID-19 outbreak following school field trip

People line up to be tested of COVID-19 at a testing booth in southern Seoul, Thursday. (Yonhap)
People line up to be tested of COVID-19 at a testing booth in southern Seoul, Thursday. (Yonhap)


A school field trip to Jeju Island resulted in a mass infection of COVID-19 for a high school based in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province.

A total of 159 high school students and faculty members tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday.

According to the North Jeolla Province Education Office, some 440 high school students and 20 faculty members went to Jeju Island from July 12 to 15.

Though this trip is usually only taken by first graders, this year, second graders joined in as they could not go last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the four-day long trip, 13 were confirmed to have COVID-19 and had to return home earlier than scheduled.

With some testing positive, students and faculty members were tested after returning home. Over 140 students and 15 faculty members have been confirmed.

According to the school, 10 people tested positive before the school left for the trip and pulled out. Those with sore throats also backed out.

Due to the outbreak, the school went into summer vacation Thursday, a day earlier than initially scheduled.



An adjacent middle school, run by the same private organization, also saw 61 confirmed cases as of Thursday.



The local education office has requested schools to look into halting plans for school field trips in the second semester. Some 497 schools in the district have plans to go on school trips from August.

In May, the Ministry of Education allowed schools to run group events, including field trips, as schools began returning to normalcy. However, it recommended that field trips should be under three days and limited to 100 students at a time.

Meanwhile, an elementary school student with COVID-19 passed away.

The 8-year-old student in Sejong tested positive on July 15 through a rapid antigen test at a local hospital. Later in the day, she was transferred to an emergency room due to a high fever and convulsions.

The child was transferred to an intensive care unit the next day but passed away. She was not vaccinated and did not have any underlying conditions. 

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)

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