January 30, 2020 13:08
Universities in Korea are bracing for the return of around 70,000 Chinese students after their winter break.
As of April last year, a total of 71,067 Chinese students were enrolled in universities in Korea, accounting for 44 percent of all foreign students here.
Busan University of Foreign Studies has already sent an e-mail to 644 Chinese students and urged them not to return until late February. Paichai University in Dajeon has halted a student exchange program with a sister Chinese university this semester, and Chonnam National University is considering postponing an exchange program scheduled for March.
The Education Ministry has asked universities to postpone or cancel graduation ceremonies and welcoming sessions for new students.
In an emergency meeting Wednesday Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said, "All students and academics who traveled to China will be assigned monitors to regularly check their temperature and other vital signs." Yoo also instructed school officials to routinely disinfect university facilities.
Some high schools in Seoul voluntarily postponed the start of the new semester. According to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, school principals have the authority to postpone the start of new semesters by a few days.
Earlier, the office mooted the plan but the government decided against the measure since no secondary infections have been reported in Korea so far. But some parents asked for school to open later, prompting some schools to agree. The schools are close to areas one of the infected patients here visited or in areas frequented by Chinese tourists.
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