TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As part of the Central Epidemic Command Center's (CECC) loosening of restrictions by lowering the epidemic alert to Level 2 next week, cram schools will be able to open on the condition that all staff are vaccinated or routinely tested for COVID-19.
During a press conference on Friday (July 23), Health Minister and CECC head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) announced Taiwan will lower its nationwide Level 3 alert, which has served as a "soft lockdown," to Level 2, which will take effect on Tuesday (July 27) and end on Aug. 9. Among the educational institutions that reopen on July 27 are cram schools, provided extensive vaccinations and testing are implemented.
Chen announced that kindergartens, daycare centers, after-school programs, and cram schools can reopen, while sports teams at the high school level and below can return to their schools for training. However, in the case of cram schools, they cannot open their doors until all employees have received at least one vaccine dose for a minimum of 14 days, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE).
If not, employees must present proof of a negative rapid screening or PCR test within three days before starting classes, with subsequent screening every seven days. After accounting for fixed facilities and equipment in the classroom area, managers must divide the classroom area by 2.25 meters to calculate the maximum allowed number of occupants.
An announcement of this occupancy limit must be placed outside the classroom and at the entrance. If there is not enough seating capacity for all students wishing to enroll in the school, the MOE recommends prioritizing students aged 12 and under.
If there is a need to consume meals, talking should be avoided when eating. A partition should be used to separate those eating from each other and careful cleaning and disinfection should be carried out before and after meals.
The school should be cleaned and disinfected at least once a week. In principle, classrooms should not be located in confined spaces with poor ventilation and without windows.
In the case of cram schools that have already implemented online teaching, the MOE recommends such distance learning is continued instead of face-to-face courses. Epidemic prevention measures must be implemented for any transportation services provided.
The requirements for kindergartens and after-school programs are essentially the same, with the exception of the vaccination requirement for kindergartens, where 80% of teachers and staff must be vaccinated before classes can begin.
Requirements to allow opening of cram schools. (MOE image)