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Here’s how countries are getting children back to school

Education is being reshaped worldwide to respond to the coronavirus and how easily it can spread.

Most schools in the United States are closed for the rest of the school year, and fall plans are in flux. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention make recommendations that include reduced hours, social distance, and extended layoffs. In other countries, some schools are reopening classrooms. This is what some of these schools look like, which could give clues as to how we believe that one day our children will start their education again.

Staggered returns

In South Korea, not all students will return at once. Third-year students will start again next week so they can make career and college decisions, Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said. Middle schools, elementary schools and kindergartens will be open until June 1st, Yoo said.

New schedules

Students are back in their classroom at the Marie Curie School in Hanoi, but online classes will continue.
According to the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), most of Vietnam’s 22 million students returned to school after months of closure on Monday.


However, online and television courses continue with new timetables and less personal instruction, the report said.

In Austria, students will split into two cohorts every other day to go to school to allow distance, according to Education Minister Heinz Fassmann, reports.

Smaller classes

Israel will begin a gradual return over the next few weeks, setting a maximum of 17 students in each classroom.

An Israeli teacher welcomes students back to class, along with new measures to prevent the spread of the corona virus. The Ministry of Education said that around 60% of the students were in schools that opened earlier this week, which may be a sign that the parents were nervous about sending their children back.

Spaced-out desks

Denmark, one of the first countries in Europe to close shops, restaurants and schools, has taken children back to school. The desks are placed so that the students sit at least 2 meters apart.

Lunch in classrooms

No older staffers

In Australia, the government has asked older or vulnerable members of the school community to work from home if possible.

Distancing in hallways

Signposts on stairs and hallways help schoolchildren in Ettlingen to keep their distance.

Really wide hats

A primary school in Hangzhou, China, helped children keep their distance by making hats that they could wear in the classroom, the Volkszeitung reported.

Masks everywhere

A hand sanitizer and mask sit on the desk of a primary school student in Pardes Hanna-Karkur, central Israel.

Wherever children and teachers are welcomed back to school, masks seem to be almost constant.
Isaac Yee in Hong Kong, Amir Tal and Andrew Carey in Jerusalem, Yoonjung Seo in Seoul and Chandler Thornton in Atlanta all contributed to this story.

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