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Many schools in Japan reopen after monthlong coronavirus shutdown

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Our public schools in Setagaya Ward are closed until GW.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

This is a serious error in judgement on the part of the govt. I pray it doesn't come back to haunt the country.

29 ( +32 / -3 )

with the impending lockdown, the moms in this article better stock up on valium and booze and not all the rice and cup ramen they are hoarding. because it is going to be a long April.

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Bizarre to read this on the same day Abe announces a State of Emergency. The people who run schools here seem to march to a very different drummer from the rest of us.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Mexed missages from Abe...how do you open schools and declare an emergency at the same time?

32 ( +32 / -0 )

I suppose the responsibility will pass to the governors.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

So universities are (basically) closed until May, a state of emergency is about to be declared, and schools are opening. What a mess. Clearly no leadership whatsoever.

27 ( +28 / -1 )

I really have a bad feeling about this. In one hand, Abe announced a State of Emergency while schools are allowed to open, it's like boarding up your house for a typhoon but you leave a window open just because you've decided to keep it open before the storm. Take it back before japan sees another spike in cases

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Abe hasn't announced a state of emergency. he only announced that he will announce a state of emergency.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Confused and irresponsible government. Are they still holding the believe that this virus doesn't infect kids.

Collects from the people but unwilling to give back to the very people it has been receiving from.

Unwilling to close elementary schools because parents will have to absent from work and stay home which will oblige the government to guarantee their salary and the government is unwilling to.

This is what you get with a one party system. You reap what you sow.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

In Kyoto, where elementary schools are scheduled to resume on Wednesday, Megumi Aoyama, 34, welcomed the move, saying she was worried that the further prolonging of school closures would affect her daughter who enters elementary school this year.

"I hope the school will teach her hand-washing habits and other aspects of hygiene," she added.

So that is what schools are for? Where is the parental responsibility?

31 ( +31 / -0 )

Unbelievably stupid.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Economy being prioritised over safety until exponential growth happens. Not long now until that happens though. Trouble is short term gain for long term loss. If they write this off until Autumn there’s a much more realistic chance of restarting again. However, this is a gamble that might lead to a longer closure of schools until early 2021 instead.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I suppose the responsibility will pass to the governors.

The state of emergency is limited to certain prefectures even though some others want it. The gov might extend it, but only if the problem gets worse... I saw this described as "whack-a-mole"

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I feel like school in Japan is like a respite spot for parents. They don’t really care about what they learn etc, it’s just a way to get the kids out of the house/out of their hair

15 ( +16 / -1 )

All it takes is one infected kid to infect his/her entire class, then the entire class infects all the parents, parents go to work on the train and infect fellow passengers, so on and so forth.

Just order all to stay at home, and ENFORCE IT for a few weeks! Let the disease burn itself out. Is it such a hardship?

18 ( +19 / -1 )

I have mixed feelings about this. Schools should close, but only as part of society-wide measures to fight the virus.

The half-hearted attempts at social distancing by adults and non-existent advice/requests/demands to the elderly and those with pre-conditions to go into precautionary self-isolation make me feel that if adults can't be bothered to do this properly, I don't see why children should have to either.

It's wrong to make generalizations, but let's just say the people they interviewed for this article did paint a very pretty picture of Japanese motherhood.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

 I am afraid of the coronavirus, but we are reaching our limit living like this," she said.

and what will your limits be if your kid is infected then comes home and infects another family member!.

when your families health is on the line you'll be surprised what limits people will go to.

This is beyond stupid anybody who thinks its a good idea sending kids back to school as virus cases are speeding up is an idiot

12 ( +14 / -2 )

The schools will be closing again then...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

kurisupisuToday 05:07 pm JST

The schools will be closing again then...

That would be a logic conclusion. In Netherlands for example the schools are closed for almost a month now but school periodic exams in April and May will continue with precautions (students sit at least 1.5 meters apart) It's for a large part also up to the school itself how to and when. Might be in Japan they do a similar thing and schools can choose.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Kindergartens have been open the whole time. And remain so in Tokyo

and other major cities

After school clubs too

My kids have going to whole time and are FINE, maybe they caught it either way their fine.

Maybe they will eventually pass it me or their grandparents, but thats a risk of being a parent and grandparent.

If we are afraid of children and see them as little germ carrying zombies And aren't willing to scarific a tiny amount for their well being (undisputidly being at school is better than trapped at home) what sort of society have we become.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

My daughter (in Tokyo) is a teacher and has been told go to work even though school won't start till after Golden Week. Point being, F2F, even though there's no reason to even go to work if you aren't teaching. Preparation and meetings can be held online, but I don't even think the school administrators know how to read their e-mail.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

with the impending lockdown, the moms in this article better stock up on valium and booze and not all the rice and cup ramen they are hoarding. because it is going to be a long April.

What? Japan is going to do a lockdown that do not allow citizens to go outside of your homes to get essential items like food and drugs?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

carpslidyToday 05:20 pm JST

My kids have going to whole time and are FINE, maybe they caught it either way their fine.

Yes your kids are fine. But the problem many can't seem to understand is that ther might be a chance they carry and spread it to other children, their parents and grandparents. Those who do not have such selfish thoughts.

Maybe they will eventually pass it me or their grandparents, but thats a risk of being a parent and grandparent.

Exactly, and due to that many others think so a tight lockdown has to be carried out as quickly as possible in Japan.

You probable can't imagine how hospitals look like at the moment in many nations which have a reasonable to excellent working healthcare system. Patients with serious non-corona related health issues are in risk too and/or can't get any treatment anymore. A large outbreak cause huge poblems for the whole healthcare system, it will not be any different in Japan.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. A bit of consistency pls Japan.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Situations vary among regions/school districts. Any decision about reopening should be made in a case-by-case basis. Other than this, alternative modes of basic education should always be available regardless of the virus crisis. Basic education is entitlement to all kids.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"I suppose the responsibility will pass to the governors." Touche!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yes your kids are fine. But the problem many can't seem to understand is that ther might be a chance they carry and spread it to other children, their parents and grandparents. Those who do not have such selfish thoughts

I am selfish for wanting my kids to have an education and have fun.

While your not selfish for wanting to deny my children an education?

If you want to stay home, stay home.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

These complaining parents are sick, actual child endangerment.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Really feel for all these kids stuck at home, probably bouncing off the walls, but to get them in for the ceremony, then cancel school again just doesn’t sit right somehow. I know these ceremonies are such an important part of the culture and coming of age, but it just seems very risky to bring them together like that. 2 meters or not. Have to think on our feet here folks. Get a smart tv and get some online lessons happening pronto. Kindergarten in your living room. Hey, no doubt there’ll be work available for those of us that can be Eikawa clowns! Power of the little likes. Schools may not be back for a while...

4 ( +5 / -1 )

"I hope the school will teach her hand-washing habits and other aspects of hygiene," she added.

And also, teaching them how to maintain proper social distancing of two meters, while they are crammed into the classroom sitting less than a meter apart.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

As kurisupisu says above, the schools will surely have to close again, but I guess it is like sweeping falling leaves in autumn/fall, i.e. important to show you have the energy and the desire to open at the slightest opportunity.

Schools must be seen as a positive place to be, even if they're not, and the kids must all be shown as enthusiastic to start classes again.

Last night a reporter went into a classroom being prepared for resumption of classes. The teacher was rearranging the desks. "Difficult to get 2 meters apart, no?" asked the reporter.

"Hmmm... maximum distance of one, or one and a half," replied the teacher. Group desks in a circle, and one-on-one or two to two desk arrangements were set back to traditional style, all facing the blackboard.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

At least you have two mask coming 1 and 2

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If we are afraid of children and see them as little germ carrying zombies

Well, yeah. This was true even before the Covid crisis.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I am selfish for wanting my kids to have an education and have fun.

Yes. You are. You are thinking of yourself and your family's joy and convenience above the health and well being of others.

While your not selfish for wanting to deny my children an education?

No. They are not. Because they are putting the health and well-being of society as a whole above their own personal joy and convenience.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Schools do need to remain open for the children of parents who work in essential services (doctors, nurses, police, ambulance, etc). However, most children should be home schooled for the time being. They've had a month to get educational packages together for the students to be homeschooled, but have done nothing. Schools in Australia remain open, but attendance is optional. All schools have prepared home study packages for their students or they have moved to online teaching. The universities are pretty much all online with only a few lectures that need to be attended.

One of the private high schools I worked in three years ago had 45+ teenagers in each senior high class. The classrooms were packed from the blackboard to the back wall. It was the school's way of making more money through employing fewer teachers. I'm quite sure nothing has changed at this school and the kids will still be crammed into the classroom and all ordered to wear face masks.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

You just wish there was some definite decisions being made. This wishy washy stuff isn't helping anyone.

Personally I think we should bite the bullet and shutdown for the next two weeks and try to get on top of it.

I'm self employed and would lose all my income but got to take the medicine.

Otherwise it's just going to go on and on.

And I have 2 teenagers eing greatly affected by this.

What was the point in bringing them to school getting their hopes up and then closing the school.

The incompetence is unreal.

If I keep my school open am I being irresponsible?

Some parents want it open some don't.

Some schools will remain open some won't.

Time for politicians to front up and show some leadership but for most of us in Japan we realize that isn't going to happen... sadly

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I feel like school in Japan is like a respite spot for parents. They don’t really care about what they learn etc, it’s just a way to get the kids out of the house/out of their hair.

That would be a 180 degree change from yesteryear, when education was everything.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Schools opening today and then Abe announcing a state of emergency on Wednesday will create a situation that is culturally anathema to the Japanese authorities who , following the example taught by Chinese rulers of yore, would rather persist in a wrong decision than admit error and change their decision. Such situations are perceived as a loss of face and a sign of inconsistency or weakness by authority figures in East Asian cultures as expressed in the phrase, 朝令暮改 (choureibokai), "morning order evening change". But as our saying goes, they will have to "bite the bullet". Corona is still calling the shots.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Madness. A huge mistake.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Japanese politicians really, really do not get it. First, after Osaka City declares it's schools closed because schools in the region had confirmed patients, Abe jumps in front of the mic and declaws a nationwide shutdown of schools -- an overreaction, which proved absolutely meaningless when accompanied by NOTHING to keep kids indoors, allowing them to sit seven at a table of four at McD's, or sit side by side in the parks playing video games or sports, or just hanging out. It should have been regional to start, and then nationwide later. But NOW you have him going to opposite route; listening to screaming moms who want babysitters and saying, "It's up to the prefectures" and reopening schools just a day or two before he plans to declare a toothless "national emergency". The man seems to think the virus will cooperate with his plans to shut down nightlife while keeping corporations and their buildings open for business, and schools open to appease some parents. The virus DOESN'T CARE, and through these kind of moronic actions they will spread. Any single reason they had in the past to justify closing them in the first place may actually have credence now, but they are doing the opposite.

TIJ

10 ( +10 / -0 )

A State of Emergency is about to be declared and schools around the country are deciding that now is the right time to reopen? Stupid. Absolutely stupid!! Fortunately for my family, my girls' school remain closed for the foreseeable future.

It is taking a hit on their education and social interactions with their friends (Though we're doing our best to home school them and allowing them to facetime with their friends). But right now, their own safety and the safety of those around them is more important.

> Megumi Aoyama, 34, welcomed the move, saying she was worried that the further prolonging of school closures would affect her daughter who enters elementary school this year.

Since when has that been the school's job? That's your job as her Mother! Seriously...... My girls have known about how to follow basic hygiene practices since they were very young!!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

"I hope the school will teach her hand-washing habits and other aspects of hygiene," she added.

Missed off that last part in the quote... JT, can you please add an edit function already?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

First day of new academic year at my International school in Tokyo was open for business (although it might close soon).

On day one, I witnessed:

One Japanese staff touching the mask and mouth (under the mask) of one kid while saying "sooo cuuute!"

Several Japanese staff hugging and touching the children multiple times (when our company told us not to do so).

A Filippina worker moving kids that I had spaced apart back close together on the same table (although admittedly, I didn't do a good job of spacing the kids to begin with).

A Japanese staff member handing out spare school lunches to teachers, after they opened the box to "have a look" with their hands (whilst not wearing any gloves or washing her hands prior to doing so).

Teachers having to congregate at the cramped/crowded area near the front desk to have a meeting that didn't really seem needed, with other staff and pupils walking through and around all the teachers.

Luckily, most of my pupils didn't come to school today, so there's that.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

In Kyoto state schools will be open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then be closed again from Friday.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Reading these comments on prev previous post its no wonder Japan has such a low birthrate.

I feel nothing but sadness at the way people see children as danger best left locked at home.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

one last push for the virus huh ... one / two days before the state of emergency ... it ,s so ridiculous it almost becomes funny ... unreal ...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

With new reported coronavirus cases climbing as well? Tsk, tsk.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Big mistake.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

If closing the schools was the right call in the first place, opening them at this problematic time makes little sense, does it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"I hope the school will teach her hand-washing habits and other aspects of hygiene," she added.

Japanese parenting in a nutshell.

That should be done at home way before sending kids to school.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Unwilling to close elementary schools because parents will have to absent from work and stay home which will oblige the government to guarantee their salary and the government is unwilling to.

This is what you get with a one party system. You reap what you sow

It’s not just that, bit more complicated. On the one hand you’re 100% correct in pointing out the incompetency of the government or deep concern as to the state of affairs and overall long term repercussions if Abe does a complete lockdown, it would completely devastate the country financially corporations, big and small family owned ones, millions won’t be able to pay their bills, not to mention children being home all day or families together for an extended length of time will lead to a lot of tension and physical violence which is already on the rise. Japan is not ready, doesn’t have the capacity or even enough ventilators and hospital beds to deal with a massive outbreak. Remember, the two things that matter most in this country: “education and the economy” you cripple that in a Japanese society that has massive consequences on every level, this is why Abe is dragging his feet, how would you restart a Japanese economy if you close it down for a period of time? Will Abe issue a temporary halt on all bills, student loans until we clear this hurdle? Will Japan do what it takes to enforce a curfew an not just lip service or Close the country down in some areas, while in other areas leave it open?, If he doesn’t pursue this seriously and you have people walking about, being mobile and doing whatever they please, you will never be able to contain the virus. And if we don’t get a cure, this virus can come back anytime in the winter and maybe even stronger the strain on this society. This is partially the reason why Abe mulls about doing a complete lockdown. He would rather take a chance, hope that it goes away and soon and just see if he could prolong this as much as he can.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

FYI, here is a study (abstract) about effects on the latest nationwide school shutdown in Japan.

Was School Closure Effective in Mitigating Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Time Series Analysis Using Bayesian Inference

https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0058/v1

Conclusions: School closure carried out in Japan did not show the effectiveness to mitigate the transmission of novel coronavirus infection.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"I hope the school will teach her hand-washing habits and other aspects of hygiene," she added.

That's your job as a parent. Also to teach them to be in a car seat, wear a seat belt and bike helmet, sneeze into your elbow, etc, this is all your job as a parent.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

This decision is not data driven. What in the data is telling government officials it is safer to open schools now than it was a few weeks ago? In fact, it’s just the opposite. Schools are being reopened during a time infection rates are increasing, so much so that Abe will announce a state of emergency.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I feel nothing but sadness at the way people see children as danger best left locked at home.

Children are gems carries... more likely than adults as their immunological system is not fully developed yet. But no one in the comments above said that they're a danger best kept locked. They will be hugging and touching each other, walking down the street all together en mass towards the school and not distancing from each other as I saw them today towards their nyugaku shiki. One will pass it to the other, then the 40 kids in the classroom. Then the entire 2nd and 3rd graders. Then to you and your parents, as well as everyone else and now we're Italy.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Children are gems carries

And there was me thinking they were the future.

And as @noriajapan shows

Was School Closure Effective in Mitigating Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Time Series Analysis Using Bayesian Inference

https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0058/v1

Was School Closure Effective in Mitigating Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Time Series Analysis Using Bayesian Inference

https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0058/v1

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

The original school closure request was a knee jerk reaction to the two young brothers and one other minor (I think) being infected with coronavirus in Hokkaido back in February.

IMO

0 ( +2 / -2 )

if my kids get sick i promise i will take action

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@macv

A extremely small number of kids are getting sick. That's the point.

And with the history Japanese legal systen good luck taking action.

Especially in the coming reason, your money might be better well spent elsewhere.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

They might as well. These same kids are still outside playing with their friends in hoards. Not much different then if they were in school.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Life has to move forward.

You can hide and die in your room alone if you want.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Life has to move forward

Just hope you're not in the 1% for whom it's fast-forward.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"I don't know how things will turn out from now on, but we can only follow what the city decides," she said.

People aren’t capable of deciding for themselves what is best for their children? They need a government expert to tell them. What if the government experts are wrong?

This is a perfect example of why you can’t have a government official in a far off capitol make all such decisions for you. People as individuals have the ability to take control of their own lives. The woman quoted above has placed the life of her child in the hands of bureaucrats and politicians.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a perfect example of why you can’t have a government official in a far off capitol make all such decisions for you. People as individuals have the ability to take control of their own lives.

That's an extremely American way of thought. America is a very individualistic culture, wherein the belief is that individual rights trump pretty much everything else.

For most of the rest of the Democratic world, we tend to have a feeling of social responsibility, balanced with individual rights. Not extremes in one direction or the other.

There are many democratic places in the world where people are under quarantine and/or self-isolation, some places under stronger government regulation than others, but a common thread among many of them is that it's for the greater good. And as such, they expect their big governments, the politicians in far away places, to take care of them in times of crisis like this. Just as the people sometimes need to sacrifice for the greater good, the government sometimes needs to take care of the people.

I know this is entirely alien thinking to the hyper-capitalist, extreme-individualist American psyche, but America is the odd one out in the world on this one. In the spectrum of individual group societies, America is basically the standard by which 'individual' is evaluated.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Kitchener LeslieApr. 6 04:29 pm JSTUnbelievably stupid.

Jumping the gun. A big mistake.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I cant believe they have opened up the schools again, jeees, how dumb is that?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan does not have distance learning min education officials say there are a few HS that do it but they don't have database if my kids get this disease i will use every technique I learned in Vietnam and Cambodia to repay Japan the favor

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Utter insanity. A need less risk.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"I hope the school will teach her hand-washing habits and other aspects of hygiene," she added.

So that is what schools are for? Where is the parental responsibility?

TokyoTelegraph - Exactly!!! Schools are expected to ridiculously do so much.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is Japan. Japan, one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, people say. Yet, it is also the place where distance learning and telecommuting are not possible in most cases or at best, just being adopted. Japan, forever the land of ironies. I already gave up trying to understand the logic of some things they do.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Was School Closure Effective in Mitigating Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Time Series Analysis Using Bayesian Inference

https://www.preprints.org/manuscript/202004.0058/v1

Conclusion: Not Peer Reviewed (Yet)

And, from the discussion section of the Not Peer Reviewed (Yet) study:

"Our analysis did not demonstrated the effectiveness of the school closure occurred in Japan in

mitigating the risk of coronavirus infection in the nation. Although the effectiveness could have

occurred in some scenario on sensitivity analyses (see March 14 scenario in Appendix Figure E),

most scenarios in our sensitivity analyses also did not demonstrated its effectiveness.

The effectiveness of school closure has been studied for other infections such as influenza, and

these studies have suggested that school closure may be effective in reducing or delaying the

epidemic peak. However, there were large heterogeneity in data and generalization of the findings

remains difficult."

Long story short, the studies are inconclusive...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I know this is entirely alien thinking to the hyper-capitalist, extreme-individualist American psyche, but America is the odd one out in the world on this one. 

America is no longer the odd man out. The American Constitution, in some many important respects, is really no longer in effect. It has been corrupted and twisted beyond recognition. There are many Americans that still wish to have the choice of whether or not they wish to join together on various matters with others voluntarily- but increasingly that choice (freedom) is being replaced by government requirements. The church, civic, and volunteer associations are being displaced gradually.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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