Universities are finding it hard to deal with the rising number of cases. The Ministry of Education promised if schools don't have sufficient quarantine and isolation facilities, they can apply to the CECC to relocate students. Meanwhile, healthy students living in those dorms can also be relocated to nearby hotels. The MOE will subsidize the relevant costs.
At one school, students that tested positive were moved to the school's kitchen. At another school, students that tested positive slept on sleeping bags in a conference room. Universities are struggling with how to respond to the rising number of cases and quarantine and isolation requirements.
National Taiwan University Student: “Right now, all the regulations are extremely unclear. You of course don't want this to happen, but there's nothing you can do.”
Some schools were unprepared for the rising number of students testing positive and those having to quarantine or isolate, and they also have limited space. The Ministry of Education spoke with schools' disease prevention officers on May 3 and some resolutions were reached. Students that test positive will be given assistance to return home. If they can't go home, they will be sent to a quarantine dorm or off-campus hotel. If schools don't have enough space, they can apply to send students to local centralized quarantine facilities. The MOE has asked the Central Epidemic Command Center to help coordinate.
Fan Yun, Legislator (DPP): “Minister, did you and the Central Epidemic Command Center communicate properly with local governments? Is there the possibility that central government units will pass the buck around? ”
Pan Wen-chung, Education Minister: “If students test positive, we can directly coordinate with centralized quarantine facilities to temporarily find an appropriate place for them.”
If schools are forced to allocate five percent of all beds to serve as quarantine facilities, the MOE will provide a subsidy of NT$10,000 per bed used for isolation purposes and NT$5,000 per bed used for quarantine purposes. Healthy students living in dorms expropriated for disease prevention can move to nearby hotels.
Wan Mei-ling, Legislator (KMT): “Who's going to take care of these off-campus living expenses?”
Pan Wen-chung, Education Minister: “Students pay to live on-campus. If they are sent off-campus, this amount won't cover their stay. We hope that we and schools can help.”
The MOE said it will subsidize related costs, including disease prevention taxi fares to return positive students to their homes and off-campus hotel stays for healthy students. Any university student with a positive rapid test result will be treated by the university as a confirmed case and in-person classes will be suspended and related mechanisms will be activated.