Schools kick off new semester amid record daily COVID-19 infections
SEOUL, March 2 (Yonhap) -- Schools from elementary to secondary levels reopened Wednesday as the new spring semester kicked off amid the country's record-high daily COVID-19 tally.
Many schools opted for fully in-person classes on the first day of the new semester even though they were allowed to choose between online and face-to-face learning depending on their respective situations.
Teachers at Taerang Elementary School in northern Seoul ushered young students into the campus. Rapid antigen test kits were distributed inside each classroom along with instructions on hygiene requirements, such as mask-wearing.
"I am excited about returning to school after a boring break," a student in his fifth year of elementary school said. "It will be very disappointing if it becomes impossible to come to school again due to COVID-19. I prefer coming to school even if I need to get tests."
The education ministry is strongly advising kindergarten to high school students to take rapid antigen tests at home twice a week before coming to school as the spring semester begins as the country's daily COVID-19 cases are expected to go up further.
On Wednesday, the country recorded the highest ever daily number of 219,241 cases, with experts predicting a peak of up to 350,000 for early- to mid-March.
"I feel a little awkward. I am a bit worried about making new friends in a new class," Kim Min-kyu, a 15-year-old student at Dogok Middle School in southern Seoul, said.
"But I am not very worried about omicron, which I think is similar to a cold," he said.
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