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Scholar recommends using 37.5°C as benchmark for quarantining students in Taiwan

The scholar said that if traditional fever threshold of 38°C is used by schools across Taiwan to screen students, some infections may go undetected

NTU College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan

NTU College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As children prepare to return to their studies, a scholar is recommending that schools across Taiwan use 37.5°C as a threshold for fever when screening students for potential infections of COVID-19, according to a Chinatimes report on Tuesday (Feb. 18).

Su Ta-chen (蘇大成), director at the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at National Taiwan University (NTU), said that if the traditional fever threshold of 38°C is used, some infected students may go undetected, according to the report.

Therefore, Su suggested that schools lower the benchmark from 38°C to 37.5°C. Schools should stop students with body temperatures of 37.5°C or higher from attending class and refer them to a clinic or hospital to receive further screening and treatment, Su added.

In addition, secondary schools, elementary education, and kindergartens across Taiwan are scheduled to open on Feb. 25. However, as the new coronavirus continues to spread, the question of whether the schools should open as scheduled has been raised.

NTU College of Public Health dean Chan Chang-chuan (詹長權) said that with regard to the COVID-19 epidemic, the government should decide within a few days whether the country is in a “period of containment” or a “period of damage reduction” in terms of preventing and controlling the epidemic, according to the report.

If the country is still at the stage of containment, then the reopening of schools should be further postponed, the dean said. He went on to say that if the country has moved into the stage of damage reduction, then schools should reopen as scheduled, but there should be backup plans for class suspensions in the case of emergency.

Later Tuesday, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced that schools would reopen as scheduled.