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School, office closures a hard decision to make

School, office closures a hard decision to make

Taipei, Sept. 29 (CNA) Whether or not to close schools and offices as a typhoon approaches can be a difficult decision for local governments to make, as they found out on Monday. Taipei, New Taipei and Keelung originally announced at 8 p.m. Monday that schools and offices would be open after noon Tuesday. Two hours later, however, the three cities reversed themselves and announced that schools and offices would be closed throughout the day. The reversal reportedly was made after the decision to close schools and offices for just half a day drew a torrent of criticism from netizens. New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu (???) explained Tuesday that the decision to close schools and offices for half a day was made based on a forecast by the Central Weather Bureau, which showed that Typhoon Dujuan would continue to significantly affect New Taipei and Keelung between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. Tuesday. Although the scale of winds and rain forecast for Taipei did not meet the threshold for closing schools and offices, it followed the decision of New Taipei and Keelung because the three cities are considered as part of the same living circle, Chu said. Soon after the announcement was made, however, the high-speed railway system announced it would only resume services Tuesday at noon and air traffic remained disrupted, meaning that people who went to central or southern Taiwan for the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday were not able to get back to work or school on Tuesday, he said. There was also the need for people to clean up their homes after the typhoon, he added. Based on these considerations, Chu said, he called Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) and came to the decision to close schools and offices throughout the day. In Tainan, the city government's decision to open schools and offices as usual on Tuesday also drew many complaints from residents. On the Facebook page of Mayor Lai Ching-te (???), there were several thousands of messages expressing dissatisfaction with the decision. "The Taiwan railway system and the high-speed railway system remain suspended before noon. How can we go to work or school?" one of the residents wrote. Another resident said that at a time when Tainan is being hit by a serious dengue fever outbreak, it would be better to let people stay home to clean up rain water to prevent the infestation of mosquitoes, which spread the virus. (By Justin Su, Yang Sz-ruei and Y.F. Low)


Updated : 2021-09-23 07:49 GMT+08:00