All Schools In Japan Shut Down Until April Over Coronavirus Outbreak

(Photo Credit: Reuters)

Japan is shutting down schools nationwide starting March 2

On Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered a nationwide closing of all elementary, junior high and high schools starting Monday amid the coronavirus outbreak. The closing of schools will run through the students’ spring break, which usually ends in early April.

In a meeting with key Cabinet ministers about the virus crisis, Abe said, “Efforts have been made to prevent the spread of infection among children in each region, and these one or two weeks will be an extremely critical period.”

The government is actively working to maintain the safety and health of the country’s children. However, Japan’s health and welfare ministry said that Abe’s request does not apply to daycare centers and after-school programs for elementary school students.

The number of COVID-19 virus patients has been increasing in Japan, with more than 200 confirmed cases as of Thursday evening. This is not counting the 700 plus infected patients aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

So far, over 50 infections – including some students – have been confirmed in the Hokkaido prefecture. In an effort to contain the infection, the Hokkaido education board temporarily closed all public and private elementary and junior high schools a day before Prime Minister Abe ordered the shut down of all schools across the country.

The Hokkaido education board will further be decontaminating school facilities and conducting a health survey on all affected teachers.
Despite the closures, entrance exams for public schools will be held on arch 4th as scheduled.

Ochanomizu University in Tokyo will also close its affiliated schools starting Friday for about a month until early April. The Kanagawa government is excluding parents and guardians from attending graduation and entrance ceremonies at junior and senior high schools as a precautionary measure.

By: Maytinee Kramer

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