SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) — Middle schools in the greater Seoul area are set to increase the portion of students attending in-person classes starting Monday ahead of the government’s plan to fully resume classes from the fall semester, according to educational officials.
Under the plan, the cap on in-person attendance will increase from one-third of registered students to two-thirds under the Level 2 social distancing guidelines, enabling more students to take part in in-person classes, the education ministry and local education offices said.
In-person attendance rates at middle schools in the greater Seoul area stood at 48.3 percent as of the end of May, which is lower than 67.7 percent at elementary schools and 67.2 percent at high schools in the area.
Education officials also plan to expand in-person attendance rates for all students at vocational high schools under the Level 2 guidelines.
The move comes as the government is preparing to fully reopen face-to-face learning at all schools nationwide in September when the fall semester begins.
Some schools across the country have brought all students back to their classrooms for the first time since the pandemic began early last year, in an apparent sign that parts of the country, at least, are slowly going back to normal.
Last week, a total of 822 elementary, middle and high schools in South Jeolla Province eliminated online class options for approximately 203,000 students, becoming the first education system to fully reopen face-to-face learning.
Education offices in North Chungcheong and Gangwon Provinces have also announced plans to resume in-person classes starting later this month and early next month, respectively.
To better prepare for potential virus cases at schools, the Seoul education office plans to beef up antivirus measures, such as providing health guidance and necessary human resources.
On Sunday, South Korea reported 452 more COVID-19 cases, raising the total caseload to 147,874, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.