South Korean schools has resumed full-time in-person classes on Monday, for the first time since the country began battling its coronavirus outbreak in early 2020.
The fully reopened schools come as part of South Korea’s living with COVID-19 plan, adopted after it reached its vaccination goals last month.
8% of the population is fully vaccinated, though that number drops to 12.
8% for those ages 12-17.
South Korea’s schools have seen various stages of shutdowns, remote learning, and hybrid arrangements.
South Korean education minister Yoo Eun-hye said during a visit to an elementary school in Seoul, “It is true that many concerns remain.
“As the number of new confirmed cases increase, we ask parents and family members to pay extra attention to prevention measures.
“The education ministry and education offices will thoroughly check the prevention measures and will support areas in need,” Yoo said.
Widespread testing, intensive contact tracing and tracking apps have enabled South Korea to limit the spread of the virus without the extensive lockdowns seen in other countries, but previous efforts at fully opening schools have been hampered by new waves of infections.
South Korea reported 2,827 new COVID-19 cases as of midnight Sunday, down slightly from nearly a week of daily totals over 3,000, including a record high 3,292 new cases on Thursday.
Most worrisome for health officials is an uptick in serious cases requiring hospitalization, which have lingered near record highs of more than 500.
Schools still can move back to remote learning or other hybrid arrangements if the coronavirus situation requires it.
Precautions such as masks, dividers and other distancing measures remain in place.
READ ALSO: Japan, South Korea fret over surging coronavirus
Korean schools resume full in-person classes