A senior-high school in northern Taiwan is to become the first school in the nation to suspend all classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic after two students were confirmed to have contracted the disease, Minister of Education Pan Wen-chung (潘文忠) said yesterday.
Classes are to be suspended from today through Friday next week, Pan said at the Central Epidemic Command Center’s (CECC) daily media briefing in Taipei.
Students would not return to the school until March 30, the center said.
The school’s second case of the coronavirus — and the nation’s 103rd — was reported yesterday.
He is a classmate of the nation’s 59th case, who returned to Taiwan on March 5 after visiting Greece with his family from January, the center said.
The two students’ classes were suspended after the first case was confirmed, the Ministry of Education said.
The school, the local education department and the ministry began to “prepare for the worst” after the initial class suspension, Pan said, adding that preparations included ensuring that distance learning could be carried out.
The ministry also sent the school 10 thermometers and 10,000 masks after the first case was reported, he said.
Classes at the school are to be moved online following its closure, he added.
The school has 1,650 students, and 154 faculty and staff, the ministry said.
During the closure, administrative staff at the school would still be required to go to work, with the exception of those who needed to be quarantined due to contact with a confirmed case, Pan said.
Guidelines released by the ministry last month say that a class would be suspended for 14 days if one student or teacher in the class contracts the virus.
If two or more students or teachers at a school contract the virus, all classes at the school would be suspended for 14 days, they say.
The center said that it was counting the school’s quarantine period as having started on Friday last week, as that was the last day that both students had contact with other students and teachers at the school.
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