TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following “the longest summer break in history,” elementary and junior high schools in Taiwan finally reopened on Wednesday (Sept. 1); however, to protect against the spread of COVID-19, parents were prohibited from entering school grounds.
According to CNA, Taipei City Department of Education Commissioner Tseng Tsan-chin (曾燦金) accompanied Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) on a visit to Yen Ping Elementary School to inspect the epidemic prevention measures in place. Tseng said students seemed happy to get back to school and showed little sign they were anxious to be separated from their parents.
One of the main tasks of the day would be to learn how to use and properly clean partitions in the classroom, he added.
Department of Education Commissioner Tseng, Taipei Mayor Ko welcome students to school. (CNA photo)
In an effort to minimize separation anxiety for first graders, teachers became familiar with their pupils beforehand and prepared gifts to hand out on the first day. In Changhua County, police greeted schoolchildren along with mascots, making the return to school more fun as well as ensuring traffic safety, UDN reported.
The principal of Changhua County's Yuanlin Elementary School, Hsiao Sheng-ping (蕭勝斌), said that although there were inevitably a couple of students who had a hard time leaving their parents, most were in a much better mood than expected. He said many parents also need to adjust and learn to let their children go.
Aside from banning guests from school grounds and installing partitions in classrooms, other COVID prevention policies include substituting tooth-brushing with mouth-washing after lunch and varying school start and end times.
According to UDN, while there are reports of students staying home out of COVID-related concerns, most have promptly returned to school. Many parents are reportedly more anxious or excited than their children while sending them off, per CNA.
All elementary and junior high classrooms must be equipped with partitions. (CNA photo)