national

Schools reopen in some parts of Japan after pandemic shutdown

57 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

57 Comments
Login to comment

good news. its about time too. hopefully they'll all open soon

-12 ( +12 / -24 )

Aaaaand second wave of infection starting in 5...4...3...

Why are Japanese organisations so totally incapable of thought? "But....the calendar on the wall says Golden Week is finished, therefore it would be troublesome not to bung 300 kids together for hours at a time. People might be confused if we didn't pretend everything was as it used to be. We Japanese like ruu-ru"

5 ( +24 / -19 )

So the first thing that happens after the state of emergency is extended is that schools re-open. Because that's what you do in an "emergency" I suppose. Talk about confusion, talk about mixed messages. For the country to be so confused is insane.

21 ( +28 / -7 )

I thought all schools across Japan with every subject were on the exact same page in their text books daily.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

The delayed start of the new school year.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Prefectures with low rates of transmission need to use commonsense and take precautions-good luck to them!

11 ( +17 / -6 )

Good! If coronavirus exists in Tottori, you would expect more than three (3) out of 1100 tests to come back positive. The burden of proof is on anyone claiming it must exist, because it's rampant overseas! etc., not those pointing out that 299 tests out of 300 in Tottori have been negative. If there are unreported excess deaths or people on ventilators in Tottori, I'm sure word would get around the locals very quickly. People may live anonymously in the city, but they don't in the countryside.

Get the kids back at school in prefectures like this and if there are any old people especially at risk due to hypertension or lung cancer or diabetes, keep them indoors, not the kids.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

One of the private high schools I taught in a few years ago had over 40 students in senior classes. The largest class was 47. The students were packed in like cattle. Those on the sides at the front couldn’t even see the blackboard.

Schools need to reopen, but they can’t just open the doors and let all the students in. They need to create a distance learning curriculum and stagger the times and days students attend school to keep the classes sizes to 15-20 (or less). They have had nearly two months since the schools closed to make and implement a distance learning curriculum and have done nothing about it. It’s shameful that a country so driven by academic achievement has just sat on their hands for nearly two months letting students’ brains rot on video games.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

In these rural areas if they are taking safe precautions I think it's okay to open up for students if the proper guidelines are met.

The 45% of companies that refuse tele-work and have their staff come into the office and shops in Kanto can open then kids going to school with safe precautions in rural areas is okay I feel.

There are more people roaming lunch time in Tokyo still then the populations of some of these small prefectrual cities.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Are these the same parents who's kids I see huddled together while laughing and playing in local parks and neighborhoods every single day since schools were closed in the first place?

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Just use those 1 m hats they use in China.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=13&v=COEjqmKbWi0&feature=emb_logo

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Are these the same parents who's kids I see huddled together while laughing and playing in local parks and neighborhoods every single day since schools were closed in the first place

Exactly. Not to mention at each other’s houses and game centers. Closing the schools has done nothing to curb the already minuscule numbers of infections, it was just knee jerk posturing from an incompetent leader from the very start.

Schools should have been opened weeks ago

3 ( +16 / -13 )

I thought all schools across Japan with every subject were on the exact same page in their text books daily.

Sarcasm runs deep in this one!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Wonder if they will have the ALTs straight back in there?Any ALTs on here in the know?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@Tokyo-m / Tom

The government, as reported in various news outlet (if not here, then in others), did clearly state that prefectures outside the most severely affected can make their judgements as to when schools (amongst other things) will restart. They are still requesting travels between prefectures to be avoided as much as possible so the areas that are relatively contained avoids "imports" from other regions.

It won't be the only country that doesn't apply a one rule for all, but access the situation from areas to areas.

We'll find out if soon enough if single digit daily infections within a prefecture is low enough to restart things with whatever precautions they take. Bit of an uncharted territory here, but I will note that Japan is by far not alone in looking at restarting school even without having days of zero new infection (various countries in Europe are also looking to restart school even though at the moment the situation is still considerably more dire than in Japan).

Looking at Taiwan, the days leading to restart of schools on Feb 25th were also in the low single digits. From mid-March to end of March did see new cases increase to the double digits (though part of them were imported from people going back to Taiwan), but has once again gone back to control.

They'll have to be careful and follow the rules, but this doesn't -have- to end up with an uncontrollable second wave.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Are these the same parents who's kids I see huddled together while laughing and playing in local parks and neighborhoods every single day since schools were closed in the first place

Exactly. Not to mention at each other’s houses and game centers. Closing the schools has done nothing to curb the already minuscule numbers of infections, it was just knee jerk posturing from an incompetent leader from the very start.

The issue as you have described it has come about fundamentally because hardly anyone, from the PM downwards, has taken Covid-19 seriously and enforced social distancing. We know how Abe likes to invoke the constitution as justification for doing FA, but we also know how Japanese frequently like to speak with forked tongues.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Plenty of chances for people to get the virus if they missed out the first time. Schools open in Australia from Monday for all students, albeit in stages. Just watch the statistics skyrocket

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I live in a rural prefecture -- and one that claims to have ZERO cases. The idea that people in rural areas take extra precautions is ridiculous: there are lots of people walking around without masks here, especially men in the over-70 age group (same demographic as a lot of the farmers here).

The reason for the low numbers in some prefectures is simple: it's the principle of if you don't want to know the answer, don't ask the question. Up to now it's been nearly impossible to get tested, even if you're symptomatic: 1st, have a fever for 4 days (that's now been relaxed a little, as of today); 2nd get your doctor to apply for a test for you; 3rd, get it approved UNANIMOUSLY by a panel of SIX other doctors, experts in infectious disease (I'm a patient of one of them, in another context). We've also heard that whenever possible, cases that do turn up are sent elsewhere. E.g., someone with COVID-19 who worked here in Iwate was counted as a Miyagi case, since that's where he lives (just across the prefectural border).

The uncharitable way to think of this is what the id of Pres. Trump voiced the other day: if we tested more then we'd look bad for having lots of cases. A more charitable, though not exculpatory, way of looking at it is that local doctors are desperate to protect the meager healthcare resources they have at their disposal. E.g., certain hospitals are being kept free of virus patients so that they can keep serving cancer patients and others with serious illness. In that case, the question the authorities want to answer with testing is who needs a hospital bed. Even if they understand that they need to test asymptomatic people to understand the spread of the virus and the level of risk (I'm sure my doctor does, e.g.), in their minds they have to think with the triage mindset of a battlefield medic.

It would be better if they'd done both: conserved hospital resources while also giving the public a sense of the risk we're really facing. Sending kids back to school seems to be confusing tatemae with reality. As we used to say in Silicon Valley, when you start to believe your own BS, you're dead.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

There has been zero numbers of mothers grouping and chatting in Yamato City. Feels kind of weird. But there has been a huge increase of overweight people jogging and panting with no face masks and they scare me. They should run in the bike lanes and not rub shoulders with people walking on the sidewalks.

Even if students are not in the classrooms, and others are, should they not be online learning with each and every student at every grade level on the same page per subject daily? It used to be that way rain or shine...and when no internet they were expected to be up to task on the day they could eventually get back to school.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I live in a rural prefecture -- and one that claims to have ZERO cases. 

Geez not all that hard to figure out you live in Iwate.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

It used to be that way rain or shine...and when no internet they were expected to be up to task on the day they could eventually get back to school.

OMG you weren't being sarcastic! You actually think all the kids in this country are reading from (literally) the same textbook.

Dude, wake up, this is the farthest from the truth. Don't know where you imagined this from, but please...NO, they are not!

Even if students are not in the classrooms, and others are, should they not be online learning with each and every student at every grade level on the same page per subject daily?

Me again thinks you really dont have an idea of the reality here! Where do you get the idea that all the kids here can even get online for classes, let alone have the necessary tablets, i-pads, or computers to do so?

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Aaaaand second wave of infection starting in 5...4...3... Why are Japanese organisations so totally incapable of thought? 

Maybe a better question is why are so many laymen convinced they are experts in the very complex field of epidemiology after reading an article or two?

It might be a good idea to bring back some normal life. Nobody here knows. And anybody who claims to know is probably the last person that we should listen to.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

The same posters said graduation and entrance ceremonies were going to cause a sharp rise in cases.

They didn't

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Vince

Closing the schools has done nothing to curb the already minuscule numbers of infections, it was just knee jerk

Surprised that you believe the low numbers of infection that the public is being drip fed.

The numbers can easily be managed or controlled by increasing or decreasing the number of test as deemed fit.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Schools are a complex situation.

One one hand, there is a risk of contagion and spread of the virus, not only among the students but also to their family when they get back home. So it is understandable that some parents would be worried.

On the other hand, kids need to socialize even more than adults (they could otherwise become introvert) and not all education/teaching can be done remotely (when available).

I am a proponent of lockdowns (to some extent) and physical distancing in general. But schools need to find the middle ground for that issue. And on a case by case basis depending on the city or prefecture. That last point is not helped by the lack of testing and tracing, leaving decisions to at best a guess.

One solution they could try would be to split the week/school into two parts. Having half the students for the first 2.5 days and the other half for the rest of the week. And cancel Saturday's activities for now. That would limit some of the risks.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"I don't know what's right," the 34-year-old said.

Its sad that parents can be so indecisive like this about their children’s health and well being. Too many depend on the government to tell them what to do. The government isn’t always right.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Japow

We'll find out if soon enough if single digit daily infections within a prefecture is low enough to restart things with whatever precautions they take. 

No, we will never know, because testing has never really been done massively in any prefecture.

There are some prefectures that the total number of test hasn't reached even a hundred test. Tokyo with a pop of 14million people some days does just over a hundred test.

With the extremely low testing, the results are far from being reflective of the reality.

You cannot compare Taiwan with japan, the approach and reaction taken by both countries from the onset regarding this virus is completely different.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

"I can't wait to eat lunch and see my friends."

pretty much sums up the entire Japanese educational experience.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

As Tokyo apartments are very tight for space it’s no wonder you can’t swing a cat. It’s ironic therefore that the countryside schools get to reopen first, as everyone floods to Tokyo from these areas. Bet those Aomori and Tottori prefecture kids are having the last laugh now at the kids in Tokyo!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

So yubaru, you mean that each and every kid does not learn the kyoiku kanji and everything else by the end of junior high school?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

To Tom from another Tom. Your comments are spot on. (I "enjoyed" 12 years in Japan.)

1 ( +4 / -3 )

all the pachinkos open again too in my local area (kyushu)

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My kids are less intelligent than three months ago.

On the otherhand 2~6pm everyday playing football and baseball in the park with the same big group of kids has greatly improved their sports ability.

I am going to miss chatting with the mums too when school finally starts.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Will see the next news if all of them came back home healthy and no illness of covid19?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

There is evidence that infected children do not transmit the virus near as much as adults. The mechanism is not well understood yet.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/21/boy-with-covid-19-did-not-transmit-disease-to-more-than-170-contacts

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Tom

Consistency in your posts???

Today:

Tom

Today  06:28 pm JST

*there has been a huge increase of overweight people jogging and *panting with no face masks and they scare me.

Less than a week ago

Tom

May 2  06:10 pm JST

Posted in: Small coronavirus outbreak at Australian meat factory  See in context

Good. Spread the herd. Only way to beat it is to join it

What is it to be?

Wear masks? Don’t wear masks?

Catch COVID-19? Not catch COVID-19?

Your opinions are all over the place.

No credibility.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

School or home, it is hard to say which is safer for kids. In Japan, a rapidly rising number of kids (under 10 yrs old) have been contracted at home since April while almost all schools were closed due to the state emergency. Parents are responsible for in-house virus transmissions:

10歳未満の感染、4月以降に急増…外出した親から「家庭内感染」

https://www.yomiuri.co.jp/national/20200506-OYT1T50014/

Though a bigger gathering and contacts could be formed, schools can also provide students an opportunity of "mild isolation" where their behaviors can be monitored and controlled. In Japan, no big outbreak has yet to happen at school. Likewise, school shutdown in March did not contribute to curbing infection numbers outside schools reviewed and reported by a research group. Seeing both logic and empirical cases, it is wrong to assume that school reopening is the most dangerous.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Continued from above:

Likewise, school shutdown in March did not contribute to curbing infection numbers outside schools reviewed and reported by a research group.

Source:

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

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

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Am a teacher in a private elementary school. Kyoto. School will return to the classroom in June. Maybe. Maybe not. We begin online classes next week. There are teachers who refuse to participate in online classes, asserting they were hired as homeroom classroom teachers, not on-line instructors. Some parents, typically professors, will not allow their progeny to take on-line classes. Public schools in Nara from k-12: assigning boatloads of homework, no online, some videos, but no actual contact with the teacher. The elementary schools have since decided no class until September. Which means almost seven months of no school. Rates of infection, proclamations from on high, the panacea of testing, everything is closed thru May 6th, now June but reassessment May 14th, graphs show the contagion has peaked and flattened and on and on. Abe a primary concern: the 310,000,000,000 yen investments, from private corporations, in the Olympics and his so-called legacy. As a member of the IOC said: no vaccine, no Olympics. But, Abe, asserting at some point, that the contagion has to be eradicated, otherwise, no Olympics, as if the Japanese people are at fault or can remedy the situation by doing a better job of gawd knows WTF. This is a man who shot out of a blue tube, in Rio, dressed as Mario. Koike, the Mayor of Tokyo, no background in education or public healthcare, issues proclamation ostensibly made by reading the entrails of a goat. The head of school, professed, we will open, we will close, we will open depending on when someone contracts the virus. All it takes is one case and the school closes for two weeks. So it goes. SARSCoV-2 has mutated into a political disease. No science necessary. Might as well have a chimp throw the I-Ching to make decisions.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There are teachers who refuse to participate in online classes, asserting they were hired as homeroom classroom teachers, not on-line instructors. Some parents, typically professors, will not allow their progeny to take on-line classes.

In many ways, Japan is such an advanced country, there are things that just make you go wow.....and then there are things that make you go, Wow! But this is why on so many levels 21st century high tech education is not on The Japanese list of priorities.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"I can't wait to eat lunch and see my friends."

Eating lunch requires you to remove your mask. And once you do that while sitting next to your friends......

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Two new studies offer compelling evidence that children can transmit the virus. Neither proved it, but the evidence was strong enough to suggest that schools should be kept closed for now, many epidemiologists who were not involved in the research said.”

One study in Science of Chinese students found that the children are only 1/3 as susceptible but contact three times as many people when in school so their risk events out. Another study in Germany found that children who are infected have as much or more viral load as adults and are likely at least as contagious as adults with the virus.

— May 5 NY Times

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So yubaru, you mean that each and every kid does not learn the kyoiku kanji and everything else by the end of junior high school?

So Tom, how does this relate to your comment here, guess you do have a habit with inconsistency in your comments, trying to obfuscate the comment you made here

I thought all schools across Japan with every subject were on the exact same page in their text books daily.

and here

Even if students are not in the classrooms, and others are, should they not be online learning with each and every student at every grade level on the same page per subject daily? It used to be that way rain or shine...and when no internet they were expected to be up to task on the day they could eventually get back to school.

Your question, which I am quoting, at the top here, has ZERO to do with your previous comments!

But to answer, no "each and every kid" meaning ALL, do not all learn the kanji you are referring to, and that still does not answer your assumptions about what you THINK.

Kids are definitely NOT all on the same page in the same textbook! That's a fact too not something I "think" nor "assume" either, those are on you!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think Japan should be more careful about reopening schools just yet. Looking at the USA if you remove New York from the virus data you will see the rates of infections are still going up, many cases are in rural areas. With half the population of Japan's population being 65 or older, I don't know if it's a risk I would be willing to take. Also with data coming in about the after affects of the virus on children, ( heart problems and possibly strokes ) I don't think it's a gamble I would take.

The outcome could devastate Japan for years to come.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Guys please leave some of these decisions to the experts, the local authorities are the once in charge here not the federal government’s, they monitor the situation closely and make the best decisions for their localities, so far they are close to meeting their targets which is good, even Tokyo with its population is managing to bring its new cases under control, if they manage to keep the no’s. Under 100 for even one week, it’s a very big achievement considering the population and the fact that it’s not a total lockdown here, the economy is important too, so the Japanese balanced approach to me is the best, we must all do our part to support their efforts, so far so good, many hoping for an explosion of cases like they have in US may never see that in Japan, I’ll take abet with anyone who will want to

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I would go even further with this idea and make a probe with few schools in Tokyo too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@kurisupisu thank you. And this is exactly the kind of attitude that we need to have going this whole coronavirus situation. Because we can’t have things closed forever, or even for like a year to a year and a half, as some people were suggesting.

And the way that the schools look like that they’re doing it, as per the one in the picture, is exactly the right approach. Maintain social distancing, and having every other desk empty, and just general social distancing in and around the school. And if you read the whole article, you saw even some of the students, were happy to get back to school. So they can see their friends, and just getting back to normal in general.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I live in the countryside near Akita, the last 4 days the locals have stopped wearing masks out and about and in shops. Did I miss a new announcement or suggestion ?

schools restarted I see them in groups without masks coming from combeni

obviously the worst is already past.

such a skillfull J gov

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The only social distancing I see in Japan is when they are driving their cars

1 ( +1 / -0 )

secretsquirrel

The only social distancing I see in Japan is when they are driving their cars

No they don't, they tailgate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The delayed start of the new school year.

No the school year started on time, it's just they are not in school. Many places are actually giving homework and other materials to their students and having them study at home.

Others are online, and some places NEVER closed either.

Making a blanket statement is totally off the mark.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ah, the usual lip-service rules at work! Schools should be closed, unless you don't want them to be. It's up to you, even though you said it's up to us. You can't open until we lift the state of emergency, unless you want to... there's no punishment for those who disobey the suggestion. Everything else must remain closed! Unless you don't want to, and then it's okay, although it isn't. Don't assemble in groups, except on crowded trains, in schools, pachinko parlors, and more. Now excuse me as my local "Stay Home" group assembles to tell people not to assemble in groups.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Smith, that was priceless! You have perfectly encapsulated the local penchant for window dressing the truth!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The JT think tank has outdone itself again today...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's just like the flu!

OPEN all the school! OPEN them NOW!!!

sarcasm, by the way

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

First, Rory if it was just like the flu people would not have been dying in the thousands in the last 3 months America is a great example 80 thousand since February the flu kills but not even close to that.

Second, it is will be interesting to see how these schools and more importantly the students fare in going back to the classroom. Will these young people and or teachers fall sick from the virus? If they do, it will be a set back for all and could keep the schools close longer than September.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

First, Rory if it was just like the flu people would not have been dying in the thousands in the last 3 months America is a great example 80 thousand since February the flu kills but not even close to that.

Sigh. Another person too clueless to realize they have made a comparison of the apple of 'flu' - which we didn't take action against by isolating/quarantining, and comparing it to the orange of covid, which we have been taking world-wide active measures against.

Any other meaningless apples-to-oranges comparisons you'd like to make?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites