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(LEAD) Schools at forefront of quarantine: Moon

All News 14:47 May 08, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with Moon's remarks; CHANGES headline; ADDS photos)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, May 8 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in said Friday schools have become the front line of South Korea's anti-coronavirus fight, as it's preparing to reopen in-person classes next week following a two-month delay.

"Now, schools are the front line of quarantine (measures)," he said during a visit to Jungkyung High School in central Seoul. He checked quarantine-related steps and had an on-site discussion with a group of parents, teachers and quarantine experts.

President Moon Jae-in leaves a message for students, "Let's overcome the coronavirus together!" during a visit to Jungkyung High School in the Yongsan district of Seoul on May 8, 2020. (Yonhap)

The visit came amid renewed concerns about the possibility of another wave of massive infections. Health authorities here confirmed more than a dozen new COVID-19 cases, linked with an infected clubber, on Friday alone.

Earlier, the government announced plans to start face-to-face classes in stages. High school seniors nationwide will be back in classrooms starting Wednesday. The rest will follow suit in stages over a few weeks.

Schools here usually begin the new semester in early March, but they have remained shut for the past two months, with students taking online classes.

South Koreans have also shifted to an "everyday life quarantine" from stringent social distancing, while the virus alert level stays at the highest of "red."

President Moon Jae-in gets his temperature checked at a classroom of Jungkyung High School in Seoul on May 8, 2020. (Yonhap)

Moon inspected plans and equipment to minimize infection risks at schools, including thermal camera use, mask supply and hand disinfection.

"I am still worried about the health of children, but I am confident that we will be able to overcome threats if quarantine guidelines are well kept," Moon said.

He also said the government would maintain dual preparedness for schooling, both online and offline.

"Schools with an infected student would immediately switch to online classes," the president said. "The government plans to make efforts to enhance the quality of online classes and improve relevant educational content."

Moon emphasized that the school quarantine is a decisive element in the ongoing anti-virus campaign with the impact to daily life curtailed.

"It's a task that's possible to achieve when schools, families and quarantine authorities join forces," he said.

Teachers prepare to reopen classes at a school in Sejong, 130 kilometers south of Seoul, on May 1, 2020. (Yonhap)

lcd@yna.co.kr
(END)

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