SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Korea Bizwire) — With the start of a new school year looming, most of the major universities in Seoul are still struggling to accommodate all of the Chinese students returning for the new semester due to a lack of dorm rooms.
Some point out that measures are needed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus infection, COVID-19.
According to statistics from the Korean Educational Development Institute, a total of 35,152 Chinese students are currently enrolled at universities in Seoul.
Out of 17 universities with more than 1,000 Chinese students, 15 (88.2 percent) reportedly have fewer dorm rooms than Chinese students.
Only Yonsei University and Ewha Womans University have enough space to accommodate incoming Chinese students.
University officials forecast that at least 20,000 Chinese students will not be able to enter dorms, while the actual figure could reach 25,000 or more.
In the case of Seoul, Chinese students are not staying in dormitories to be quarantined, but if they stay in dormitories, they will be able to cope with the aftermath of any confirmed COVID-19 cases.
However, it is difficult to accommodate all Chinese students, since there are considerable number of Korean students returning to Seoul.
“Since there are Korean students who came from other parts of the country, we have no choice but to use part of the dormitory as a quarantine space,” said an official at a university in Seoul.
“We believe that 20 to 30 percent of Chinese students will have to find other accommodations as there will not be enough dormitory space for all.”
The Ministry of Education distributed guidelines to universities and recommended that students living off-campus be advised to self-quarantine for 14 days after entering South Korea, and encouraged schools to inform students about how to prevent the spread of infectious diseases at least once a day via text messages and phone calls urging them to refrain from going out and wear a mask.
Another university official said, “We need several facilities at least in Seoul, but the government seems to be burdened by diplomatic issues such as quarantining Chinese students in separate facilities.”
D. M. Park (firstname.lastname@example.org)