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In-person school classes to fully resume in S.Korea

Seoul, Nov 19 (IANS) In-person school classes will fully resume next week across South Korea following the end of this year's national college entrance exam, the Education Ministry said on Friday.

In line with the government's "living with Covid-19" scheme, all kindergartens, elementary, middle and high schools across the country will return to full-fledged in-person classes on November 22 for the first time in nearly two years since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out, reports Yonhap News Agency.

Earlier this month, the government eased social distancing rules under the first stage of the three-phase scheme for people's gradual return to normal life, but education authorities put off the full resumption of in-person attendance until after the College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT), which took place on Thursday.

Last year, the country postponed the CSAT, the biggest academic event held on the third Thursday of November every year, by two weeks due to the pandemic.

The Ministry said it will provide personnel and financial aid for anti-virus efforts to schools in the greater Seoul area, where the virus situation is more serious than other regions.

South Korea's daily Covid-19 cases hovered over 3,000 for the third consecutive day on Friday, with the broad capital area accounting for 80.3 per cent of the country's total cases, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency.

Local education offices can also allow schools to change their attendance policies flexibly considering the virus situation and class density.

Education Minister Yoo Eun-hae also said the government will consider measures to encourage more students to get vaccinated.

Infections have risen among teenagers as their inoculation rate remains low compared with other age groups.

Teenagers accounted for 15.4 per cent of the total cases in the fourth week of last month from 11 per cent in the first week, according to health authorities.