Schools Delay Summer Holidays Due to MERS

      July 08, 2015 12:02

      The elementary school holidays will start a week or two later this year to make up for lost school days due to the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. But they will end in late August as usual.

      The changed schedule has many parents up in arms as it throws a monkey wrench into their holiday plans.

      One Internet message board was filled with comments lamenting botched holiday plans on Tuesday.

      "I looked everywhere and finally booked a hotel starting on July 29, but I just found out the vacation starts on the 30th," one parent wrote. "I wonder if it's OK to skip a day of school." Another said, "We bought airplane tickets and booked a hotel room starting in the last week of July, but now I don't know what to do."

      School administrators are also concerned about having to hold classes in the heat of summer.

      One elementary school principal in Gangnam said, "I'm worried that my students will have a tough time studying in late July, when the weather is hot already." Other school officials said the government should provide support funding to keep air conditioners running during school hours.

      Elementary schools are not obliged to shorten their summer vacation to make up for days lost to MERS. According to law, they merely have to be open for at least 190 days a year.

      A survey by the Korean Federation of Teachers' Associations showed 59.2 percent of elementary schools opting to shorten the summer break, but some schools are thinking of shortening the winter vacation (21.8 percent) or stretching teaching hours without changing vacation dates (12.3 percent).

      Elementary schools in Pyeongtaek south of Seoul, where around 80 percent shut their doors for around eight days, plan to shorten the summer and winter vacations for a few days each to mitigate the impact on children's schedules.

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