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Taiwan to raise threshold for schools to cancel to 1/3 of classes

237 schools in 18 counties, cities close due to COVID Monday

Taiwan to raise threshold for schools to cancel to 1/3 of classes

(CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — With over 200 schools announcing cancelations on Monday (April 11), the Ministry of Education is planning on raising the threshold for suspending classes to one-third of staff and students.

On Monday, the MOE announced that 237 schools in 18 counties and cities had announced either complete or partial suspension of classes, reported the Liberty Times. From April 20, 2021, to Monday, 2,085 students have been confirmed to be infected with COVID, including 971 from colleges and universities, 264 from high schools, 192 from middle schools, 481 from elementary schools, and 177 from kindergartens.

Under current regulations, if two students test positive for COVID, the whole school must close. Amid complaints from parents about frequently disrupted classes, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) has asked the MOE to draft rules on the criteria to suspend classes due to the virus.

A copy of a draft of the new rules obtained by the Liberty Times states that only when one-third of school staff and students are listed as "confirmed cases" or "close contacts" will a school suspend face-to-face classes. School personnel must conduct self-health monitoring until the test results of close contacts are all negative.

In the event of a confirmed case in a school, the school's head of epidemic prevention must provide a record of that person's movements.

If the confirmed case is a teacher, the investigation must include the classes that they taught. If the case is a student, a record of their classes, activities, and students from the same classes must be listed as close contacts. The confirmed case's class must suspend face-to-face learning for 10 days and can only resume when all students test negative.

If a confirmed case comes in contact with students while taking part in physical education classes, clubs, or riding the bus, activities for these students will be suspended for one to three days. The venues involved must also be cleaned and disinfected, and staff must cooperate with the health department in conducting an epidemiological investigation.

"Non-close" contacts will resume classes one to three days later, while close contacts must undergo quarantine and testing while their face-to-face classes are suspended. Close contacts must all test negative before face-to-face classes can resume.

The MOE has already discussed the draft with local governments and has submitted it to the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) for approval.