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S. Korean society reacts to gov't pushing to reopen schools in spring Updated: 2021-01-28 04:12:15 KST

Research showing that COVID-19 infections are less likely to occur in schools has prompted the South Korean government to push for reopening schools in the spring.

"All the classrooms at this elementary school in Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do Province have been empty since mid December. For the final few weeks of the semester, teachers had to use remote learning to engage with their students."

'Zoom' classes will still exist in 2021 but alongside expanded face-to-face learning.
While online education has served as a substitute, teachers have noticed certain flaws.

"Some parents can be at their children's side and help, but there are also kids with absolutely nobody at home. Then there's internet connection issues. Some kids have fast WiFi while others have glitches. From a common sense point of view, there's no way the education gap can't widen."

Parents are split on the matter.
Some say it's too early to have kids physically attend school.

"I think it's a bit early for kids to fully go back to school. For now, a combination of remote and on-site learning seems right."

But many working moms would like to see schools reopen albeit gradually.

"My second child will start first grade in March so for me, it's great news. It's important for kids experiencing school for the first time to have a long school day and get used to the routine."

Kids simply want a return to normal.

"I wanna see my friends at school."

"Me too. Staying at home, not able to meet my friends was a bummer."

Health experts, meanwhile, say that prolonged periods of remote learning can have a negative impact on a child's mental and physical development.

"At school, kids have to run around during P.E. even if they don't want to. At home, though, they're less likely to move. If this continues for more than one or two months, health problems like child obesity and juvenile diabetes may arise."

Professor Jung agrees with the government's plans to bring kids back to school as long as virus prevention measures are strictly adhered to.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
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