Two young students walk to their school in Seoul.
The education ministry has reaffirmed plans to resume in-person classes for younger students as scheduled, despite ongoing concerns over possible transmissions of the novel coronavirus in schools.
Vice Education Minister Park Baeg-beom said during a press briefing Thursday that the government will continue with the next phase reopening plan for second year high school students, third year middle schoolers, first and second grade primary school students and kindergarteners next Wednesday.
His remarks came after partial closures at some high schools this week raised fears that it may not yet be safe for younger students to return to school while cluster infections continue to spring up, particularly in the capital region.
On Wednesday, the first day high school seniors returned the classroom, 66 schools in Incheon ordered students to return home after two seniors in the area tested positive for COVID-19 after visiting a karaoke facility.
In Anseong, the reopening of nine high schools was temporarily suspended as a precautionary measure due to a local case of infection.
Speaking on the results of the first round of the school reopening, Park said 95.2 percent of the country's 442,141 seniors had attended school.
Of those who did not go to school, 115 were placed under self-isolation by health authorities, 2,099 were advised not to attend following self-monitoring results and 737 could not enter school premises after showing symptoms.
There were also 1,198 students who chose to study at home.
The vice minister said that of the 1,257 students who were checked for the virus, one student in the southeastern city of Daegu tested positive.
Health authorities said that 262 students were sent to COVID-19 screening stations from school on Thursday after showing symptoms like fever and sore throat, with health workers carrying out tests on 229 as part of precautionary measures.
The number of students tested was up sharply from the 127 who were checked the day before.
<Photo: Yonhap News>
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