Gov’t urged to reduce classroom density to protect students from virus

SEOUL, Two liberal party lawmakers, their supporters and civic activists on Wednesday urged the government to drastically reduce the number of students per classroom at elementary and secondary schools, as part of efforts to strengthen social distancing in the ongoing fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Rep. Kang Min-jung of the Open Democratic Party, Rep. Lee Eun-ju of the Justice Party and their supporters held a news conference in front of the National Assembly to ask the government to revise its guidelines on classroom density and lower the number of students per classroom to below 16.
At present, 99 percent of elementary and secondary classrooms nationwide are of the same size, measuring nine meters in length and eight meters in width.
But the number of students per classroom differs widely depending on the individual situations of schools. In some congested classrooms, social distancing is said to be difficult to implement. According to education ministry data, the number of students per class in domestic elementary schools averaged 23 as of 2017.
The lawmakers said a two-meter distance can be secured among students if 16 students are in one classroom. If the number of students per class rises to 25, the maximum distance between them is reduced to 1.4 meters right and left and 1.25 meters front and rear, they noted. If the figure rises to 36, the maximum distance in all directions is a mere one meter.
“It may be realistically difficult to reduce the number of students per class below 16 overnight. But the government has to clarify its principles on classroom density to help gradually lower the number of students per class,” the lawmakers said in a press release.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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