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S. Korea to expand in-person learning at schools in spring starting with preschoolers, first and second graders Updated: 2021-01-28 10:05:30 KST

Recent research showing that COVID-19 infections are less likely to occur in schools has prompted the South Korean government to gradually reopen them in the spring.
The Ministry of Education has just announced plans to safely get kids back in the classrooms.
We have our Han Seong-woo on the line for us.
Seong-woo, what's the latest?

Mark, we'll be seeing children back in school as scheduled this spring.
Just an hour ago, the Education Ministry announced that the start of the new school year will not be postponed.

"Unlike last March, remote learning is now available to all schools nationwide. So the school year will begin in March as planned."

For face-to-face classes, the government is prioritizing pre-schoolers, the lower grades of elementary school and students with special needs who require more care than others.
In areas under Level 2 social distancing or lower, preschoolers along with first and second graders will be exempt from anti-crowding restrictions and allowed to go to school first.
As for high school seniors, the national college entrance exam will be held on November 18th without any delay.

How will the ministry be able to safely carry this out? Are there any special measures in store?

Yes, the number of personnel responsible for keeping schools disinfected will be increased to some 50-thousand.
And earlier on Tuesday, it was announced that some two thousand teachers on temporary contracts will be placed in overcrowded classes with more than thirty young elementary school students so that they can be separated into smaller class sizes.
The move also aims to close the education gap that has widened from the prolonged period of remote learning.
In addition, the government will run more after-school classes and care centers on flexible schedules for nearly 460-thousand kids to ease the pressure on parents, especially those juggling child care with work
And to provide students with emotional support, the ministry will hire more professional counselors who can visit schools frequently.
It also plans to improve the current educational infrastructure by expanding AI-based learning tools, increasing access to high speed internet and even pushing for new laws regarding remote learning.
Back to you Mark.
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