(ATTN: UPDATES numbers in 5th para)
SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- The education ministry has allowed schools to shorten the number of school days in ongoing efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae sent a document to 17 education offices across the country earlier this week, allowing elementary, middle and high schools to relax mandatory school days by up to 10 percent, according to the ministry.
Local law mandates schools run at least 190 days of classes in an academic year, which means schools can shorten the number of school days by up to 19 days according to the latest move.
The ministry has advised schools to prepare alternative academic courses, such as online education material, to make up for the reduction in days.
As of Friday, 647 schools across the country, including 459 kindergartens, have temporarily closed to prevent the further spread of the contagious disease.
The education ministry also relaxed the mandate for school days in 2015, when the country was hit by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.
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