Students on Coronavirus Alert Ahead of University Entrance Exam

  • By Kwak Soo-keun, Yoon Soo-jung

    November 27, 2020 09:31

    Education authorities are on the alert as the daily number of new coronavirus cases surpassed 500 on Thursday, only a week before the university entrance exam.

    High schools nationwide shut down again and switched to online classes, and Education Ministry advised private crammers to close for a week.

    Desks are being partitioned at a high school in Gwangju on Thursday, a week ahead of the university entrance exam.

    But high school seniors are still worried about coronavirus infection from family members even if they stay home.

    Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae said 70 percent of students who tested positive for coronavirus in November were infected by their own family. She urged families to keep quarantine guidelines even at home for the next week if at all possible.

    A man shows off protective gear being worn by proctors during the university entrance exam at a high school in Gwangju on Thursday.

    According to the ministry, 21 high school seniors tested positive and 144 others were in self-quarantine as of Thursday.

    They will sit the exam in separate test venues, but the ministry only has 784 of them to cover up to 172 test-takers with coronavirus and some 3,800 test-takers in self-isolation.

    A total of 493,433 students registered for this year's exam, and they will sit it in 31,459 test rooms, a 1.5-fold increase from last year to ensure social distancing. The capacity of each room has been reduced from 27 to 24 to allow enough space between students.

    Some 121,592 proctors in protective gear will be deployed, a 1.3-fold increase from last year.

    Korea reported 569 news cases on Friday morning, rising above 500 for the second day running. But the government remains reluctant to further tighten lockdown as it hopes for a lull in early December.

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