SEOUL, March 16 (Korea Bizwire) — Amid the coronavirus outbreak, parents are scrambling over protective masks as the first day of the new school year approaches on March 23.
Schools in North Chungcheong Province, for instance, have 460,000 protective masks in stock, which is the minimum amount required in accordance with quarantine standards.
The masks are enough to cover only two days if distributed to all students in the region, which has led schools to ask that all students, in principle, provide their own masks.
Some schools in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province are sending out text messages to parents asking them to voluntarily purchase stocks of protective masks.
The Chungcheongbuk-do Office Of Education has distributed emergency funds to all schools to purchase additional stock of protective masks.
The budget, however, was no more than 4.5 million won (US$3,700), enough to buy only 3,000 protective masks that cost 1,500 won each.
“The bigger problem here is that there just aren’t enough masks available out there,” said a source familiar with the education industry. “The schools will prioritize giving out protective masks to students coming to school without one.”
People point out, however, that protective masks cannot be reused, particularly among active, playful children who easily end up damaging or contaminating the masks.
“Now that there aren’t enough masks at home or at school, how are we supposed to protect our kids when they are crammed into a classroom when school starts,” a local parent said.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)