Schools in Seoul region to return to online classes amid rising COVID cases

Seoul, Aug 25 (efe-epa).- Schools in the South Korean capital region will return to online classes starting Wednesday due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country and especially in this area.

The education ministry and the regional education departments jointly announced on Tuesday that, until Sep. 11, all kindergartens and schools in the cities of Seoul and Incheon and the surrounding Gyeonggi province will be required to give lessons remotely.

The measure, however, does not affect high school senior students, who must prepare for the college entrance exam and so will continue the mix of online and in-person classes.

Since May, one-third of total students in a class in primary and secondary schools and two-thirds in high schools have been allowed to physically attend school at a given time. The other third/two-thirds must attend school “online” and the shifts for both groups are rotated throughout the week.

Amid an increase in coronavirus cases in August, even high schools in the capital region were ordered to reduce maximum attendance to a third.

The measures issued on Tuesday come after 150 students and 43 teachers tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days in the Seoul region.

On Tuesday, South Korea reported that 280 new cases were detected on the previous day, of which 267 are local infections and 92 are from Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi.

The Sarang Jeil Church, an ultra-conservative Presbyterian church in northern Seoul, has become the second largest virus cluster detected in South Korea since the beginning of the pandemic with at least 875 infections so far.

Thousands of worshipers of the church participated in a series of demonstration on Aug. 15 in Seoul, which in turn have become another hotspot with over 170 infections.

Until now, South Korea is one of the countries that has best controlled the pandemic so far thanks to its comprehensive contact tracing system.

It has recorded a total of 17,945 coronavirus cases and 310 deaths to date, for a fatality rate of 1.73 percent. EFE


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