Schools reopen in Japan amid pandemic

Most public elementary, junior high and high schools in Japan reopened for the second term on Wednesday with measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Students wearing masks went to Higashi-Sakura elementary school in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan, one after another and greeted their teachers at the gate. The prefecture is under a state of emergency declared by the Japanese government.

Principal Arai Hironori spoke to the students online for the opening ceremony of the new school term from the office of the school master. About 340 students listened in their classrooms.

The principal said the children were probably worried because coronavirus infections are spreading across Japan. He urged them to work together to avoid spreading the virus.

The students were seated further apart than usual in their classrooms with windows opened for ventilation.

After the ceremony, they handed in their artwork, calligraphy and other summer homework projects to their teachers.

One girl in the sixth grade said she had made breakfast for her family during summer vacation and that they had all eaten together. She said she hopes to have fun this term.

A sixth-grade boy said he will try not to get too close to his classmates to avoid COVID-19 infection, but that he hopes to get along with them.