[Update] Taipei City and New Taipei City have announced that all public and private schools, from kindergarten through high school, as well as cram schools and after-school centers, will be closed from May 18 to 28. During this period, classes will be taught through online learning platforms, and parents of students under the age of 12 will be permitted to take unpaid family leave.
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Four elementary schools in Taipei's virus-hit Wanhua District will close, while junior high and high school students in the capital who are in their final year are switching to online learning after coronavirus cases rose dramatically over the weekend.
Taiwan saw a massive spike in COVID-19 cases over the weekend, with 180 reported on Saturday (May 15) and 206 on Sunday. Many of these cases are concentrated in the northern metropolises of New Taipei City and Taipei, particularly in the capital's district of Wanhua, where a cluster infection started at a number of tea parlors last week.
In response, the Taipei City Department of Education on Sunday announced that the following Wanhua District elementary schools will be shut down for one week starting Monday: Taipei Municipal Lao-Song Elementary School, Taipei Municipal LongShan Elementary School, Taipei Municipal Ying-Qiao Elementary School, and Taipei Municipal ShuangYuan Elementary School. Classes are tentatively set to resume on May 24.
The education department also announced that Taipei junior high and high school students in their final year will switch to online learning from Monday, affecting approximately 50,000 students. This distance learning will continue until their graduation, which will be also be held virtually.
The department advised that if students in other grades feel the need to take leave for epidemic prevention purposes, schools should take a flexible approach and not consider them absent. Even at schools that are still open, all after-school programs and clubs are suspended.
At schools that remain open, staff are required to wear a mask at all times and avoid strenuous exercise in courses that are held outdoors. Any classes that cannot be implemented with masks must be suspended.
The New Taipei City Government is also discussing whether to switch to remote learning. Officials have stated that they will make related adjustments in accordance with central government policy and the development of the epidemic in the city.