Memos from Asia

COVID-19 And Its Effects On Japanese Schools

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Unless you have been living under a rock, we all know the devastating toll COVID -19 is having worldwide.

This article will look at what effect COVID-19 has had on Japanese Schools and look at some of the measures they have put in place to ensure children’s safety.

The Re-Opening Of Schools

After being closed for more than a month, schools finally reopened in June

In early March, Schools in Japan were divided into three categories, areas where infections have grown – areas where infections have been confirmed, and, areas with no confirmed infections.

However, schools and other educational institutions in Tokyo and Osaka were expected to stay shut down for an extended period. This due to the rising infection counts in those cities.

Effects on Students And Parents.

There have been mixed reactions in Japan, but the overwhelming majority of parents are very concerned.

In my case, our daughter’s school is in a rural area that had no cases. However, the school shut down for nearly two months, displaying the conservative nature of Japan.

A variety of parental concerns have been featured on Japanese media. Some parents are worried that their children are spending more time in the house playing games. Others are worried that they are scolding their children more than usual because they are spending more time with them. Parents with children entering elementary school this year are happy that school is reopening.

Games are fun and can be educational, but having children become further addicted is a real concern. The irregular school hours and schedule have also negatively affected students’ sleep cycles.

Summer holidays have been reduced to two weeks from the standard six weeks, something my daughter is not happy about.

Online Schooling

Although Japan is a global leader in Technology, only a minimal number of Schools took lessons online.

Daisan Sunamachi Junior High School in Kōtō, Tokyo, was one of those schools. (nippon.com, 2020)

The school reopened in June, and measures were put in place to keep students safe. Physical Class attendance was cut by fifty percent with the other half attending via Zoom.

Even if students only come to school for half a day, doing half a day remotely will keep them from slowing down their studies.

However, it is doubtful that primary school students can implement remote learning in the same way. The viability also depends on the IT knowledge of the school and teachers.

Where To From Here?

The Japanese government’s response to COVID-19 has been the envy of governments worldwide. Schools are slowly back to regular scheduling with full attendance and hours.

Some have suggested that after long vacations, students can become further stressed, so parents must keep a close eye on their children over the upcoming holiday. (Mainichi, 2020)

With Summer vacation here, it brings the perfect time to get out with family and friends and enjoy nature.

Let kids be kids.

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