SEOUL, June 26 (Korea Bizwire) — Universities and colleges in South Korea are planning to gradually expand in-person classes in the fall semester in line with the nation’s rising rate of vaccinations against COVID-19, officials said Saturday.
The Ministry of Education recommended earlier this week that the proportion of in-person lectures be gradually increased at universities and colleges nationwide after late September, when about 70 percent of the country’s 52 million population are vaccinated with at least one vaccine dose.
The ministry has already announced a plan to fully resume in-person classes at kindergartens and elementary, middle and high schools in the fall semester after completing the vaccination of school faculty and staff in August.
Domestic schools, including universities, have offered a mix of online and in-person classes since last year to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among students and faculty.
Face-to-face classes will resume for experiment, practice and performance courses and small classes at universities and junior colleges at the beginning of the fall semester in early September, ministry officials said.
They will be gradually expanded to ordinary courses from late September.
According to a survey of 94,803 university students conducted nationwide for five days from May 31, 63.1 percent agreed with in-person classes for experiment, practice and performance courses, compared with 36.9 percent for theory classes.
Small classes that allow for physical distancing will also be given priority in face-to-face classes, the officials said, noting the standards for small classes will be determined by each university.
“Five universities have fully resumed in-person classes earlier this year. Face-to-face lectures can be resumed anytime as long as sufficient physical distancing is possible in classrooms,” a ministry official said.
The ministry also recommended that face-to-face activities outside of class be held on a small scale before the end of September and large-scale face-to-face events and festivals be banned during the period.
Students will also be asked to refrain from using multiuse facilities, such as libraries and restaurants, after class, it noted.