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Gov't suggests schools reopen for some grades

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Limited school openings are clearly the best way to begin. We can't go on forever like this. The virus isn't rampant but it's not going to be eradicated either.

If it starts to spread more rapidly, it may be necessary to shut the schools again, but I think it's best to give it a shot.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

Maybe, but only maybe this is an acceptable decision.

Closing schools until end of May maybe better.

Make up the lost time by cutting summer vacation to 3 or 4 weeks.

If necessary have lessons until Saturday (mornings) which was possible some years ago.

But please, don't open up too early! Even with that limited number of students there are still risks.

And if there will be a rise in infections due to this decision .... we will have to start all over again!

Two to three weeks after the Golden Week period is early enough to see which "direction the virus went".

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

By matching the academic year to what is common in other parts of the world including Europe, the United States and China, the government also hopes to attract more foreign students, while making it easier for Japanese students to study abroad.

China? Hmm, seems to me that there were a bunch of folks here who said otherwise?????

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

"Hagiuda said Japan has so far seen no child deaths from COVID-19 and child-to-child infections at schools have not been reported."

They just don't get it. Children can carry the virus even without symptoms and spread it to others.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

Why can't schools have online classes?.

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Yeah, compared to doing nothing school should too do more then online. The weather is nice now, they could have classes outside , even 1 hour a day. For younger children (9-), the online system is actually counter productive.

Almost all of the parents I talked to are frustrated.

The international schools situation is even weirder; here you also pay for more less few videos that are copies of other videos on youtube that follow curriculums from videos on youtube.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

They just don't get it. Children can carry the virus even without symptoms and spread it to others.

Latest studies do show that the spread from children is actually very low and limited because they have a very low viral load. In the opposite, elderlies have a very high viral load and that’s also a factor for increasing critical situation and heavy symptoms

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Latest studies do show that the spread from children is actually very low and limited because they have a very low viral load. In the opposite, elderlies have a very high viral load and that’s also a factor for increasing critical situation and heavy symptoms

That sounds like a bro science interpretation of some study. I’d need to hear an actual accredited scientist make this statement to take it at face value.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Why can't schools have online classes?.

If you happen to live here in Japan, I guess the answer would be obvious, but if case you dont, you would have to have 100% of the children owning or having access to at least a tablet or better yet a computer AND reliable internet access.

This is not the case. Folks with money are already seeing their kids have online lessons from their "private" schools.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Latest studies do show that the spread from children is actually very low and limited because they have a very low viral load. In the opposite, elderlies have a very high viral load and that’s also a factor for increasing critical situation and heavy symptoms

You a doctor or researcher or something? Wait, if you were, you would put the links and "science" out there for everyone to read, wait, no wouldn't even do that, as you wouldn't be spending your time HERE.

Your comment and so called "studies" can be brushed aside as hearsay or voodoo without anything to support it! Like strangerland wrote, it's sounds like "bro-science" same as the armchair quarterbacks who think they know better than the people actually playing the game!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

They have to change the fiscal year of Japan from April to September for overall changes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why can't schools have online classes?.

Because there is more technology in the toilet seats here than the average classroom. Basically, it’s the same reason teleworking is so difficult: technology education here is extremely lacking. Think the US/Canada in the mid to late 90s.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I say open back up in June if the virus if the infections decrease enough, cut summer vacation to just 2 weeks (just use the darn air conditioners as they're intended and have them do gym activities indoors).

Spring break is already well past 2 months long, they don't need a 2 month summer break. Surely not having the kids in the schools since February has cut cost enough that they can run the aircon cool enough that the children won't be dying of heat stroke in July/August.

If the virus is still rampant then distance learning needs to be implemented ASAP. Japan has had plenty of time to prepare.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

dilemma, too. In my state of Queensland, this happened on 23 April:

Queensland schools will open for term two for vulnerable students and the children of essential workers, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says.

Key points:

Queensland school students will study term two remotely until at least May 22

Teachers and other staff will still attend school campuses, as will vulnerable students and the children of essential workers

The State Government will review the measures on May 15

Other students will be taught from home via remote learning online for at least the first five weeks of the term.

The rules would be in place until May 22 and reviewed on May 15.

Unfortunately there have been reports that some schools are over crowding since social distancing needs to be followed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Limited number of students spread over several classes would probably suffice.I think the final year students who are about to sit their exams are the most in need so as to lessen the burden to lessen the numbers further.

As for Japan attracting foreign students,the entire thinking has to be changed.When foreign students graduate from Japanese universities,,Technical colleges,etc..they are left on their own and are left to ponder on their own future without support for getting employed here.That is what happened to me.I was the only foreign student at my institution.All the Japanese students already had a job decided by the final year,infact others were even choosing from one company to the other if it didn't suit them even before beginning.Meanwhile,I was left on my own,my visa was about to expire and no job.Japanese mainstream companies do not want to hire gaijin graduates.The lucky ones get jobs in gaishikei.(Foreign owned companies)That is what happened to me and is the case with many foreign graduates to date.The others have no option but to pack up and leave.The only ones who Japan keeps are the"Kenshusei"who are brought here under the guise of trainees ,who slave in the farms and construction industry,and these ones are completely different from foreign students.

Most of my friends left Japan after graduation and have much better jobs in other countries and are promoted to higher levels.In Japan I have yet to see a "gaijin kacho"at a Japanese company.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Our local government said yesterday the schools will remain closed until the end of the month. Schools in areas with low or no case of the virus could open again.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Why can't schools have online classes?

They can do, my JHS daughter has started already, but there is way more to school than ABCs. Socialization and physical health being two obvious examples. I bet loads of kids are getting physically weaker and fatter due to less exercise and vastly inferior lunches to the ones they get at school.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I spoke to my school board yesterday to ask under what conditions school could restart, i.e no cases for a week, under 1 cases a day etc.

Their answer we don't know

Also, I asked if that considered splitting classes, teaching outside etc?

Their answer that would be too much work.

School boards don't want the hassle of opening schools. And mayors are using school closures as a political chip

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Children aren’t dying?

Well it’s okay then. Who cares about all the adults that they could pass the virus to, right?

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.businessinsider.com/children-do-transmit-covid-19-says-researcher-amid-confusion-2020-4%3Famp

2 ( +4 / -2 )

What if someone followed the 3-5-7 rule for having children? Children are in different grades. Opening school works fine for parents who have one child, but what about more than one child at various ages? One start date, one end date.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"...there is more technology in the toilet seats here than the average classroom."

Hilarious, but accurate. Chip is the winner.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The University of Tokyo had begun to consider implementing a September academic year nine years ago, but subsequently abandoned the idea.

I don't get the retraction. Unlike basic compulsory education, university or higher education services would better fit to global academic community and its timetable (mainly getting started in autumn) for the sake of frequent exchanges crisscrossing national borders. I support a calendar move at Japan's universities, regardless of the current virus crisis.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This school year is already totally wrecked with the transition between grades also spoiled due to Mr Abe's ad hoc closure of all schools in February. With increasing and more widespread infection than when he closed every school, what is the rational for bringing students back that wasn't rational back in February. Better to take a long time out and reset the academic year in September. My three kids miss their friends, worry about high school entrance exams but are also seriously concerned about the missed lessons and potential extra pressure through the rest of the year in an attempt to catch up.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Is getting an education worth the risk? Even though children might only exhibit mild symptoms or none at all, how about teachers and parents? It's a shame that the economy and education trumps people's health and well-being. It's the world we were born in.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hagiuda said Japan has so far seen no child deaths from COVID-19 and child-to-child infections at schools have not been reported.

Haguida sama, If japan was testing widely, your statement would have credence.

Same like no reported case of someone contracting it in the trains doesn't mean it can't and isn't being transmitted in the trains.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Hagiuda said Japan has so far seen no child deaths from COVID-19 and child-to-child infections at schools have not been reported.

What about the kids in Hokkaido?

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/13152960

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I don't mind another month off!

Since I started living in Japan it was long work weekdays. Leaving at 7am then getting home at 7:30pm.

Weekends my wife always wanted to go out to a mall or somewhere where you don't get direct sun.

Now we just stay home aside from groceries or a small walk. It's been great

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So they just want to flood the schools, no phased measures, no testing especially for the teachers, not trying to see who’s at risk or who had it or has the virus. Japan treats this virus as if it’s like a sinus cold. There is absolutely nothing wrong with schools going online. What’s wrong with that? Is it that the Japanese think that being physically in the school is more important than education itself because the institution builds character? I don’t know the answer, but I can say, they’re just handling this so badly.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Clarification for those interested in actually listening.

I’m a virologists tasked with working on COVID-19 here in Tokyo. Saying that children have low or zero chance of getting sick or transmitting COVID-19 is utterly false. Both myself and my colleagues here in Japan, and also the Institute of Virology in Berlin and the RCPCH in London can all attest to the virus having low risk of serious illness in children. However, there is EXACTLY THE SAME chance of children passing COVID-19 to other children or adults.

Asymptomatic carrier rates in children are higher than in adults, thus an unlimited opening of schools at this time is not recommended. Governments around the world should be doing more to help support studies, but allowing an opening of schools at this present time in Japan is dangerous.

Due to the extremely low testing rate here in Japan, we are still struggling to get a grasp on the real numbers of infected. We don’t want to enforced strict lockdowns, but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE exercise caution and observe social distancing. Also, be aware if you have children and don’t allow them to go shopping with you, or to play in areas with lots of people.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

They just don't get it. Children can carry the virus even without symptoms and spread it to others.

That sounds like a bro science interpretation of some study. I’d need to hear an actual accredited scientist make this statement to take it at face value.

What is bro science interpretation?

gary

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As for Japan attracting foreign students,the entire thinking has to be changed.When foreign students graduate from Japanese universities,,Technical colleges,etc..they are left on their own and are left to ponder on their own future without support for getting employed here.That is what happened to me.I was the only foreign student at my institution.All the Japanese students already had a job decided by the final year,infact others were even choosing from one company to the other if it didn't suit them even before beginning.Meanwhile,I was left on my own,my visa was about to expire and no job.Japanese mainstream companies do not want to hire gaijin graduates.The lucky ones get jobs in gaishikei.(Foreign owned companies)That is what happened to me and is the case with many foreign graduates to date.The others have no option but to pack up and leave.The only ones who Japan keeps are the"Kenshusei"who are brought here under the guise of trainees ,who slave in the farms and construction industry,and these ones are completely different from foreign students.

Most of my friends left Japan after graduation and have much better jobs in other countries and are promoted to higher levels.In Japan I have yet to see a "gaijin kacho"at a Japanese company.

I'm very sorry to hear about your situation, but this is in very stark contrast with my experience studying and working in Japan. I did a full four year undergraduate degree in Japan like a Japanese student. Our school also had a job hunting office specifically dedicated to assisting and announcing news etc. around job hunting. They were very helpful to me, so no complaints there.

As for Japanese companies not wanting to hire foreign staff, I can also verify this isn't the case. Since about 2012 or so, job hunting seminars specifically targeted for foreigns have become increasingly popular. I personally met many typically Japanese companies like manufacturers, retailers or trading houses etc that were ready to hire or had already hired foreign staff. The biggest requirement is that you must speak at least business level Japanese and should understand Japanese customs, which would already be the case for most foreign nationals here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Correction: foreign students, not nationals.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kids who quickly get back to school will pass their exams, the rest will fail and never get a decent job.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Children from poor families don't have computers/tablets/iPads/internet. No on line for them. Every child needs an iPad or tablet plus internet.

Half of the prefectures have zero or 1 deaths.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Without Legislation reform the schools will be bankrupt once a child dies from COVID-19. So basically reopening schools is at the headmaster’s risk and getting sued for ¥100M per child. Who wants to be accountable for that?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is crazy but the way this virus has been handled here is even more crazier...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just change the school start year to September.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Perhaps Japan can use this as an opportunity to start the school year in September, along with the rest of the world (mostly). That April sakura thing runs deep though. I wouldn't expect any changes, even if students were at home till September.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Northenlife

This is crazy but the way this virus has been handled here is even more crazier...

You can't blame people if they don't take the virus seriously, some comments here even attest to that.

People see the grim scenes in Europe and New York even with the strict lockdowns whereas what they see and told about here in Japan is that Japan is holding on well, Japan has been spared despite half hearted and lax measures they are bound to believe from the low numbers. What is never explained is that the real numbers might far higher than portrayed if test are ramped up.

This virus has killed many elderly people abroad when it finds its way into elderly homes, but here in Japan there have been infections in many elderly homes and luckily very few deaths that we have heard of.

Well maybe Japan has a very milder strain of this virus as declared by some japanese experts compared to Europe and the U.S strain.

Test has to be ramped up to 20-30,000 test per day to justify the low numbers. Tokyo alone has the potential and resources to be doing 10,000 test a day and not the meager 100-400 test it is doing.

Where there is a will there is a way. What can be said is that there is no will. Really frustrating going out and suspecting everyone being a carrier due to lack of testing.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Online teaching for all children would be possible, if politicians and other high earners "donated" their bonus in order to purchase a tablet or even a notebook computer for all school children! I mean, how much was the bonus (summer or winter, you decide) our great leader got. Add to this all the others and there wouldn't be any problem! Now waiting for more thumbs down (wonder why in the first post!).

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Every child on school enrollment should receive a Chromebook.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Best comment I read "Shaolin74"!

Now please convince the government and some other people here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ah_so

We can't go on forever like this.

I don't think anyone has suggested we should. Given that infection rates are beginning to slow down, caution would still be wise.

n1k1

Yeah, compared to doing nothing school should too do more then online.

The international schools situation is even weirder; here you also pay for more less few videos that are copies of other videos on youtube that follow curriculums from videos on youtube.

I... don't know what most of this means.

Taro

Without Legislation reform the schools will be bankrupt once a child dies from COVID-19. So basically reopening schools is at the headmaster’s risk and getting sued for ¥100M per child. Who wants to be accountable for that?

Child deaths are highly unlikely. But no school wants to be responsible for a cluster, especially private schools. That'd be a massive hit to enrollments.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

zichi

Every child on school enrollment should receive a Chromebook.

That'd be ideal... but how are you paying for it?

The school I teach at - every kid has an iPad, part of their school fees. My son goes to a different school (JHS), he got an iPad... but we're paying for it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"...there is more technology in the toilet seats here than the average classroom."

LOL!

Hilarious, but accurate. Chip is the winner.

I agree!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That'd be ideal... but how are you paying for it?

Those families that can afford to buy it do so. Buy from the school. Bulk purchases of Chrome Books/iPads would greatly reduce the price. Family unable to afford can be helped with a school loan. All could just pay a loan fee.

Many kids have phones?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Governments around the world should be doing more to help support studies, but allowing an opening of schools at this present time in Japan is dangerous.

I basically agree on caution, but reopening is underway across some lockdowned countries/regions, and it usually gets started with schools. Situations in most of them at present seem more dangerous than that in Japan. Perhaps schoolkids are more resilient, less likely to fell seriously ill despite infections. In Japan, schools have guideline (originally for flu response: one infection case leads to close a class; two or more leads to school full shutdown). Besides, empirically no big cluster has yet to take form in schools.

I believe that R0 is a critical indicator to assess the end of lockdown/restriction into reopening. For a month Japan's reproduction number has continued to remain low (1

0 ( +1 / -1 )

continued from above (don't know why the text cuts short for posting...)

I believe that R0 is a critical indicator to assess the end of lockdown/restriction into reopening. For a month Japan's reproduction number has continued to remain low (1

0 ( +0 / -0 )

let me try again...

For a month Japan's reproduction number has continued to remain low (1

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Kids had better start skool soon or you're gonna have a cluster of hikikomori kids.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Yeah, because you can negotiate with a virus no problem, for one. Second, the schools have always been cheap babysitters and you gotta give in to the young mamas who are mounting pressure on politicians, and three because the schools here can't be sued when these kids carry the virus home, are bullied (perhaps even to suicide) if they've caught it (by parents, too), and potentially kill their family. The schools, BOEs, and government can just shrug and say, "Who'd a thunk it?"

I do hope, though, that if a kid contracts it and gets seriously ill that parents file lawsuits, and not just one since a judge will "admit the school is guilty, but also innocent," but over, and over, and over.

The only actual reason they can have for justifying it is that it will take the kids out of the parks, where they are not socially distancing anyway.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Meanwhile, in other nations they are calling off the rest of the school year, and smartly so. It's this kind of thing that's the reason Japan will not eradicate the virus and instead will see constant postponements and states of emergency well into 2021. I have a solution, though -- tell the government the Olympics will be postponed again if Japan doesn't take proper steps NOW, and I guarantee they will act.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And yet schools have been off for two months and the explosion a la Europe and the U.S. has not happened.Hoping for a negative turn is not constructive or desired by most people.And you can always go back to your home country since it's better and being dealt with more to your "liking." Or as my grandmother used to say when I was lippy,"You know where the door is."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are still many things we do not know about this virus. One is that studies have shown that children do not spread the virus to adults. We do not know the mechanism yet, but the data is clear that children have different reactions and are not contagious like adults.

There is not a single case recorded yet in any country of a child infecting an adult. It's baffling, but true. So, let's not spread misinformation that children with Covid are the same as adults.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There are still many things we do not know about this virus. One is that studies have shown that children do not spread the virus to adults. We do not know the mechanism yet, but the data is clear that children have different reactions and are not contagious like adults.

There is not a single case recorded yet in any country of a child infecting an adult. It's baffling, but true. So, let's not spread misinformation that children with Covid are the same as adults.

That isn't what I have read about children and infections.

Children's coronavirus cases are not as severe, but that doesn't make them less serious

https://www.wmur.com/article/childrens-coronavirus-cases-are-not-as-severe-but-that-doesnt-make-them-less-serious-1/31409008

Just because children are not as likely to develop major symptoms, or even any at all, does not mean they won't contract the coronavirus. Reingold said it's likely that the number of cases in children is underreported, in part because their symptoms are so minimal or mild, but he warned they can still infect others.

> "We have to assume that they can spread it. They're incredibly efficient at spreading other respiratory viruses like influenza. Of course, this is a different virus and it could be different," Reingold told CNN. "But we assume that children are extremely efficient at spreading respiratory viruses, including the new COVID-19."

> The biggest concern is that in small or large groups, children could still pass along the virus to those who are more susceptible -- including the elderly in the community or older family members.

It seems that children have a greater chance of having no to only mild symptoms, but people on JT also stated that no child under ten has died from the coronavirus which was later proven false. A lot of that original data was coming out of China. They are not the most trustworthy source. The virus is also evolving!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My oldest Daughter was suppose to start 1st grade in April this year. I will never let the govt force my child to go to school with the Chinese Communist Party Virus COVID-19 lurking around and espcially when this country (Japan) cant get their act together and even provide more than 100 test a day nationwide... NOPE not happening. My child do not belong to the government.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

zichi

Those families that can afford to buy it do so. Buy from the school. Bulk purchases of Chrome Books/iPads would greatly reduce the price. Family unable to afford can be helped with a school loan. All could just pay a loan fee.

Many kids have phones?

Still have the same issues: where is the money coming from for a "school loan"? You're talking about huge sums of money. And as someone who currently teaches via Zoom, I cannot imagine taking part in a class via a phone. Screen's way too small.

Peter Neil

There are still many things we do not know about this virus. One is that studies have shown that children do not spread the virus to adults.

That's just flat out inaccurate.

Dr. Danielle Zerr (infectious disease expert at Seattle Children’s Hospital):

"What we don’t know yet is the degree to which children can transmit the virus."

Lead scientist on the Aust NSW govt study on CoronaVirus, Dr. Kristine Macartney:

“We did see low transmission, we didn’t see no transmission. I think children can still transmit coronavirus. That’s certainly the case. We’ve seen that.”

Germany’s chief virologist Christian Drosten:

“Analysis of variance of viral loads in patients of different age categories found no significant difference between any pair of age categories including children. In particular, these data indicate that viral loads in the very young do not differ significantly from those of adults. Based on these results, we have to caution against an unlimited re-opening of schools and kindergartens in the present situation. Children may be as infectious as adults.”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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