CORONAVIRUS/Taiwan to ease COVID-19 in-person class suspension rules

09/08/2022 02:49 PM
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Elementary school students in Kaohsiung are pictured during a PE class. CNA file photo
Elementary school students in Kaohsiung are pictured during a PE class. CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 8 (CNA) The Ministry of Education on Thursday announced a further easing of rules regarding the suspension of in-person classes due to COVID-19 at all educational institutions in Taiwan effective next Monday.

From Sept. 12, students confirmed as COVID-19 cases will be allowed to return to school following seven days of isolation, provided they are no longer displaying symptoms.

Meanwhile, on-site education can resume if teachers and students in the same classes as confirmed cases have no symptoms and have tested negative.

Under the ministry's current rules, in-person lessons must be suspended for three days if someone in the class tests positive for COVID-19.

According to the new rules, those who have taken part in the same classes or extracurricular activities with confirmed cases and did not have their face masks on at that time for over 15 minutes will be provided with one rapid test kit by their school.

If they subsequently test negative for COVID-19 and display no symptoms, they will be allowed to attend in-person classes, according to the ministry.

The new rules will be applied to colleges and universities when their new semester starts after the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday from Sept. 9-11, as well as all schools below university-level, which are already in session.

Under the new protocols, those who live in the same school dormitory room as confirmed cases will be classified as close contacts and have to undergo mandatory isolation or self-epidemic prevention measure.

Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said in a recent interview that colleges and universities around Taiwan currently had a total 3,500 beds in nursing dormitories for positive COVID-19 cases, and 8,800 in isolation dormitories for negative close contacts.

He added that beds in these dormitories were mainly reserved for those who cannot return home for isolation, such as overseas students.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Evelyn Kao)

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