How Schools Across the Globe are Returning to Learning


With a new academic year beginning, schools in the US have been finding many different ways to get kids back into a learning environment. Across the globe, countries are reopening similarly, with new coronavirus prevention measures in place. Schools in parts of Europe and Asia have begun with practices like social distancing, scattered attendance, wearing masks, and frequent handwashing.

Although most reopenings have been successful at avoiding outbreaks, The Washington Post published a story sharing doctors’ and public health officials’ concerns regarding the unknowns of asymptomatic children and the lack of testing they will receive.

In China, Beijing announced through Xinhua News Agency that HIgh School seniors would be the first to return on August 29, to prepare for their college entrance exams. They were to be followed by elementary and middle school students on different dates through late August and September. Kindergarteners are to return last, on September 8 and September 11.

After urging the closure of schools across Japan on February 29, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on March 24 that Japan would not extend their school closure recommendation for the new school year, but rather leave the decision up to local municipalities. The Ministry of Health released guidelines with new preventions such as open windows, temperature checks, face masks, and physical distance.

“The circumstances of each area is different, and it will be much more effective to judge based on the actual ground situation rather than dictating a policy measure nationwide,” Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda told the Straits Times.

The Japan Times reported that schools across the country are shortening their summer breaks to make up for time lost in the spring.

Denmark became the first European country to open its schools, starting with the youngest students, grades 1-5, on April 15. Shortly after, on April 20, Norway reopened their Kindergartens, followed by grades 1-4. Both countries have implemented precarious such as staggered arrival, distanced desks, and hand as well as surface washing multiple times per day.

In Germany, high school seniors returned in April to take their final exams, however, most schools have remained closed since mid-March. Partial reopening began in mid-May, however, following a spike in cases, were ordered to close in some states, according to The New York Times. In different states, schools continued to reopen and close throughout August, per The Local Germany.

Unlike many countries, Taiwan never officially closed schools, after learning of the coronavirus outbreaks they took swift action and extended their winter break by 10 days. Kids returned to school in late February already with precautions such as temperature checks and plastic table dividers.
Given that every country dealt with and continue to deal with the coronavirus differently, countries across the globe are confronting their own individual obstacles when it comes to reopening schools.