Ministry of Education eases restrictions for students

A child is tested for COVID-19 at a makeshift testing center in Chuncheon, Gangwon province on Monday. (Yonhap)

Unvaccinated students living with confirmed COVID-19 patients will be allowed to attend in-person classes from March 14, under new guidelines from the Department of Education announced on Monday.

Schools will not penalize student absences related to COVID-19 starting in the new semester. Also, beginning March 14, students can attend classes in person even if a family member has been infected with COVID-19.

The Department of Education on Monday announced more details of its response against the spread of the omicron variant, including attendance guidelines and testing protocols.

Students who have been prevented from attending classes due to COVID-19 will not be penalized for their absence and participation in online classes will also be counted.

Until March 13, students whose family members have been diagnosed with COVID-19 can attend school if they have been fully vaccinated. Those who have not been vaccinated will not be allowed to come to class for seven days.

The ministry advises students who have not been fully vaccinated to undergo a polymerase chain reaction test three days after their family member is tested, and a rapid antigen test six or seven days after.
From March 14, after the end of the ministry-designated “new semester adjustment period”, students whose family members have caught COVID can attend school regardless of their vaccination records.

They will, however, be subject to “passive surveillance” for 10 days, which means they must report to health authorities if they have symptoms similar to COVID-19. The ministry suggests that they undergo the same testing protocols and refrain from attending schools for three days until they receive the PCR test result.

The Department of Education also said an emergency response team will provide support to schools and education offices for infectious disease prevention and control until the end of March.

By Im Eun-byel ([email protected])