Schools reopened to students on a trial basis ahead of the fall semester on Aug. 16. The semester will start on Sept. 1 in Taipei, but students will be allowed to attend classes virtually if parents have concerns.
Students seem excited to return to school for the first time after three months.
Student 1:” It's hard to focus at home, so it's better for me to attend class in person.”
Student 2:”You don't know what other people are doing when you're looking at a screen. If you're all in the classroom together, you can see people are working hard and (it makes you work hard too).”
Chuang Feng-chao, Director of Academic Affairs, RenAi Junior High School:” You get a better idea of how students are doing and if they're taking in what you're teaching when they're in the classroom with you. It's harder to get a grasp on that online.”
Schools will have students attending class in shifts, their temperatures taken at the door and wearing facial coverings. Summer classes for the ninth-graders started on a trial basis on Aug. 16, with many schools continuing virtual classes due to parental concerns.
Tseng Wen-lung, Principal, RenAi Junior High School:” Eighty percent of (our parents) indicated they wanted physical classes to resume before the start of the semester, so we started preparing for that on Aug. 16.”
Tsai Ping-kun, Taipei City Deputy Mayor:” In the absence of further epidemic-related restrictions, schools will reopen on Sept. 1 as scheduled.”
The fall semester for elementary and secondary schools will open on Sept. 1 in Taipei. But "epidemic leaves" are allowed for parents unwilling to send their kids to school for health concerns.
Taipei officials have prepared three remote learning formats that will be activated depending on the percentage of students learning remotely, which is expected to be 10 to 15 percent according to the initial estimation.
New Taipei City Mayor Hou Yu-ih, meanwhile, is calling on the Tsai administration to procure more vaccines.
Hou Yu-ih, New Taipei City Mayor:” The fall semester starts in September, and BNT vaccines will be reserved for 12- to 18-year-olds when they become available. Until then, economic recovery will be a challenge.”
It remains unknown if the fall semester will open on schedule in New Taipei City. Taipei is banning field trips and graduation trips for the time being.