Some Schools in Japan Moving to Reopen amid Virus Scare

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, March 9 (Jiji Press)--Municipalities in Japan are beginning to take different approaches to the government's request to close schools in a bid to contain the new coronavirus outbreak, with some opting to reopen schools earlier than planned after shutdowns.

The city of Urasoe in Okinawa Prefecture, southernmost Japan, said Monday that it will move up by three days the restart of all municipally run elementary and junior high schools now closed following the central government request. The 16 schools will remain shut until Tuesday, instead of the earlier planned Friday, according to the city.

The city made the decision in view of the large burden of the state-requested measure on families with schoolchildren and the limited spaces of after-school child care centers. The fact that no new infection cases have been reported in the prefecture since Feb. 20 also led to the move.

Kamimori Donguri Jido Club, an after-school child care center in Urasoe, has been accepting schoolchildren from 7:30 a.m. while making sure that the children wash their hands and their body temperatures are measured, and rooms at the facility are adequately ventilated.

"But we can't control contact (among children)," Kinue Kanemoto, head of the center, said. "Schools may be better from the perspective of preventing infections," she added, noting that schools are larger than after-school child care centers.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press