Temporary School Closures due to the Novel Coronavirus, Many in Support

Temporary School Closures due to the Novel Coronavirus, Many in Support

A Survey by Fukui Shimbun

On February 28th, as a countermeasure against the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) released a notice to every prefecture’s Board of Education, officially requesting a temporary school closure at once. Upon this notice, Fukui Shimbun carried out an electronic survey in the same afternoon to approximately 70,000 Fukui Shimbun Passport members. Regarding the topic of “Temporary school closure”, 25.9% of responded with “Oppose” while an overwhelming 46.4% responded with “Support”.

The survey provided three options: “Support”, “Oppose”, and “Neither”; in addition, respondents were asked to provide their reason. Within three hours, 675 surveys returned from within and outside Fukui Prefecture, with 54.1% female respondents, 44.9% male respondents, and 1% as neither.

Among the different age brackets, the one with the most leaning towards “Support” was the “70 or over” group at 60.4%, followed by “60 – 69” with 56.6%, and “50 – 59” with 49.7%. Many expressed their reluctance in supporting the action:

“We may be told that we’re making a big deal about this, but I think it’s better to be cautious.” (Fukui City, male, 70 or over)

“It can’t be helped.” (Fukui City, male, 60 – 69)

“I think it will help as a countermeasure, but I’m worried about children who will end up staying at home.” (Fukui City, male, 40 – 49)

According to gender, 38.1% of female respondents replied “Support”, while the percentage among male respondents was about 18 point higher at 56.4%.

The age brackets leaning most towards “Oppose” were “10 -19” and “20 – 29”. There were various comments as follows:

“A graduation ceremony without the other current students will be sad. I wanted to be with everyone again one last time.” (Sakai City, female, 10 – 19)

“There’s no meaning unless nursery schools and companies take a break as well.” (Minamiechizen Town, female, 20 – 29)

“Isn’t this going too far, as there still hasn’t been an infected person within Fukui Prefecture?” (Fukui City, male, 40 – 49)

“Until some actual leadership takes place, closing down schools is only going to cause chaos.” (Echizen City, male, 50 – 59)

Comprising 27.7% of the total respondents replied “Neither”, with some comments expressing grief.

“Even if the children take a break, there’s still a chance for infection to spread among the adults.” (Sabae City, female, 40 – 49)

“This measure is too rigid. I wish there was more leeway in how this was carried out.” (Sabae City, female, 20 – 29)

“There are no play areas during the weekdays. Even if children can go to their friend’s home, there’s still going to be some trouble. The children will grow irritated, and stress will build up. The same goes for the parents.” (Sakai City, female, 30 – 39)

Source: https://www.fukuishimbun.co.jp/articles/-/1038371

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