8 Taiwanese universities delay opening to stop coronavirus spread

Educational institutions from elementary to senior high level to start new semester late on Feb. 25

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Entrance to Shih Hsin University (SHU Photo)

Entrance to Shih Hsin University (SHU Photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — To prevent the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), eight Taiwanese universities announced on Sunday (Feb. 2) that they have postponed the beginning of the 2020 spring semester.

Shih Hsin University (SHU), National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), CTBC Financial Management College, and Feng Chia University will delay the start of the semester by two weeks to March 2, while National Sun Yat-sen University and MingDao University are set to reopen on Feb. 24.

The delayed opening of National Kaohsiung Normal University and National Chiayi University, however, applies only to students from China, Hong Kong, and Macau. These students are asked to return to school on March 30.

SHU noted that the change will be officially made to the school's calendar after it notifies the Ministry of Education (MOE). Meanwhile, NCKU said its two-week delay already applies, citing as a reason foreign students' completion of two weeks of monitoring and self-quarantine.

Opening dates vary among higher education institutions, and the education authorities are reportedly set to meet with school representatives on Monday (Feb. 3) for discussion.

According to 2017 data, 117,970 foreign students in Taiwan were enrolled in higher education, including non-degree programs, 9.3 percent of total university and college students. Among these, Chinese students accounted for the most at around 30 percent, followed by Malaysians at 14.5 percent.

Meanwhile, educational institutions nationwide from the elementary to senior high level will begin the new semester on Feb. 25, as the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is escalating in the country, according to the MOE on Sunday. At the time of publication, the health authorities have confirmed 10 cases in the country.