Anti-virus efforts start in Okinawa high schools

Students at public high schools in Okinawa have begun attending school on alternate days as the prefecture bids to tackle high numbers of coronavirus cases.

Outbreaks reported among teenagers in the southern Japanese prefecture appear to stem from contact with classmates or to have links to extracurricular activities.

Staggering school hours began at public senior high schools and others after Okinawa was included in the state of emergency on May 23.

First- and second-year students began attending classes alternately starting Monday to strengthen measures against the virus. Third-year students are excluded from the scheme, as reduced attendance may affect their future plans.

Second- and third-year students at Naha High School in the city of Naha attended classes on Monday.

But the classrooms for first-year students remained deserted.

The school is calling on stay-at-home students to study on their own, and has been sharing study materials on its website and through other means.

Students going to school in person are required to check and report their temperature before they leave home. They are also being told to sanitize their hands.

The vice-principal of the school showed understanding of the extra trouble for the students and expressed readiness to take one step at a time to ensure they won't be deprived of learning opportunities.