Superintendent Cho Hee-yeon speaks at a press briefing at the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
Amid the ongoing pandemic, schools in Seoul are to continue normal operations, with the local education office promising to strengthen support for students’ mental health.
“All schools will run under ‘normalcy attendance’ scheme in the second semester, operating face-to-face classes,” Superintendent Cho Hee-yeon said at a press briefing at the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education on Tuesday.
“If the spread of COVID-19 worsens, however, schools can autonomously adjust their management of educational matters,” Cho said.
In the second semester, schools in Seoul will hold face-to-face classes, involving extracurricular activities. After-school classes and child care services will operate as usual, too.
It will designate the first three-weeks of the second semester as a special disinfection inspection period.
The education office will provide some 1 million nasal and 47,000 saliva testing kits to schools for rapid antigen testing. It will also dispatch four to six extra personnel to each school to carry out disinfection duties.
If the number of newly confirmed daily cases surpasses 3 percent of total students, or if students in isolation related to COVID-19 exceeds 15 percent, schools will have to cancel group events such as field trips.
Though the seven-day isolation requirement for people with COVID-19 remains, the education office plans to allow confirmed students to take exams in-person. It said it will finalize the plan this month after discussing the matter with the Education Ministry and the health authorities.
Also, the education office will strengthen its support for students’ mental health. A recent survey commissioned by the education office identified more than 1 out of 100 students in Seoul as being at risk of suicide.
The survey found that 3,749 out of 264,614 students, 1.42 percent, are in the suicide risk group, a 0.7 percentage point rise from the year before.
The education office will expand its psychological care Wee project to offer consultation services to students, and connect them with psychiatrists.
By Im Eun-byel (firstname.lastname@example.org