One Week Notice Before Reopening
In a press conference on April 28th, Fukui Prefectural Governor Tatsuji Sugimoto announced that the reopening for prefectural schools will be further postponed for the time being, as a preventative measure against the continuous spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Municipal boards of education, which oversees elementary and junior high schools, have received and generally acknowledged the postponement request. Video lessons will be broadcast for elementary, junior high, and senior high schools students for home study. Prefectural schools have set up one day a week for students to attend school.
During early April, the prefectural and each municipal education boards had announced the postponement of school reopening until or after May 7th. Prefectural Governor Sugimoto expressed his thoughts on the decision made during this occasion, “We can’t disregard the possibility of more infections, because of the flow of people during Golden Week.”
Concerning the time when schools can reopen, Governor Sugimoto stated his opinion, “It is necessary to confirm (the COVID-19 situation) during the two-week period following Golden Week. I think the prospect of reopening schools during May will be tough.” There will be a one week notice before school reopens.
According to the Prefectural Board of Education, in a meeting held by the superintendents of the municipal education boards on April 28th, before the press conference, elementary and junior high schools generally accepted the circumstances of postponing the reopening of schools. Regarding elementary and junior high schools, each municipal education board will officially determine when school attendance will take place.
For prefectural schools, May 7th and 8th will have students attend school, and will have the entrance ceremonies. Students will be divided into groups, visiting schools at different times, being there for a shorter period of time.
From May 11th, high school students will receive broadcasts of video lessons, created by their school teachers, which will work alongside their textbooks. Elementary and junior high school students will also receive a broadcast of video lessons through cable television and YouTube. Families without internet connection will be sent DVDs, with DVD players to be loaned out to those who need it. The Prefectural Board of Education expressed in a statement, “In accordance with a notice by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), once the study materials have been established, the content will be regarded as complete among the school’s curriculum.”
With the danger of increased stress for the school children, because of the prolonged school closures, class teachers will be available to communicate with the students when they attend school. Consultations with the school nurse or counsellor will also be available as needed.
At the same time, concerning private schools, president of the Fukui Prefectural Private Junior and Senior High Schools Association, Akihito Ogihara (Keishin Senior High School Principal) said, “Each school have, for the most part, been acting in accordance with the prefectural governor’s request. We will continue to provide academic support through online learning, using various methods such as recorded videos and live broadcasts.”