Aug. 30 marks the start of the new school year for elementary and junior high schools. Many schools began implementing COVID-19 prevention and control measures on the first day.
Parents take photos with their children in front of the school entrance to capture the moment their children started school as first graders. Only one parent was allowed to accompany each student into the school as a disease prevention measure. Parents also had to leave by 9 a.m. Parents of students in other grades were only allowed to drop off their children at the entrance. The students went through preventative disinfection before they entered the school.
Dajia Elementary School Sixth Grader: “(Reporter: “Why are you feeling excited?”) Because I don't have anyone to play with at home.”
A ceremony was held on the sports field to mark the opening of the new school year, and students sang the national anthem and raised the national flag. Dajia Elementary School welcomed students back to in-person learning. Although teachers and students were outside, everyone still wore masks. The principal said the school has approximately 400 students including its kindergarten, and 40 percent are unvaccinated. One-third have recovered after being infected.
Dajia Elementary School Student's Parent: “He got infected in May, so he couldn't get vaccinated until the end of August and there wasn't enough time for him to get vaccinated before school started in September.”
If any student in a class tests positive between Aug. 30 and Sept. 11, the school will be suspended for that class for three days. After Sept. 12, infected students will have to stay at home for seven days while classmates and other students who interacted with infected students for more than 15 minutes while not wearing masks can return to school with a negative rapid test result if they are asymptomatic. The rapid tests will be provided by the school. The principal said some parents have concerns.
Li Chung-hui, Principal, Dajia Elementary School: “Sept. 12 is after the Mid-Autumn Festival, so we're afraid of infections resulting from gatherings.”
Dajia Elementary School Student's Parent: “(Reporter: “You don't want classes to be suspended for the entire school at the drop of a hat.”) Yes. I want to start living normally, and we'll follow what the CECC says.”
The school organized a rice ball-making activity for the students to help them get acclimated. Teachers say they hope the epidemic situation won't worsen and interrupt in-person learning.