South Korean students returning to schools

South Korean students returning to schools
© Getty Images

High school seniors returned to schools in South Korea Wednesday with some restrictions, illustrating a potential model for reopening education facilities amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Associated Press. 

The students reportedly had their temperatures checked and rubbed their hands with sanitizer before entering schools. Masks are also required and some schools have installed clear plastic partitions on their desks as well. 

Students in lower grade levels are scheduled to return to school in phased steps by June 8.

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However, 32 new coronavirus cases were reported on their first day of partially reopened schools in South Korea, which had not seen more than 30 cases in over a week. Korean health officials told the AP they expect more cases now that schools are reopening, but are confident they can mitigate the spread of the virus. 

Schools have shown to be a potential hot spot for infections, with two students testing positive for coronavirus in South Korea on Wednesday. The classmates of the infected students were sent home and public health officials chose to close all schools in one area.  

“I am here to see students returning to school while praying that there won’t be any coronavirus patients among our students in 2,200 schools,” Cho Hee-yeon, the education superintendent in Seoul, told reporters.

In France, which opened schools Monday, students at the junior high level returned to classes first. When France reopened schools, the country reported about 70 cases of coronavirus among students and faculty.