The majority of parents surveyed in northern Taiwan favor the suspension of all on-site classes at schools from the junior-high level and below amid a surge in domestic COVID-19 infections, parent groups said yesterday.
About 84.4 percent of respondents in a survey of 2,912 parents in northern Taiwan, where the outbreak is the most serious, said they supported suspending classes, the Action Alliance on Basic Education, the Taiwan Parents Protect Women and Children Association, and the Taiwan Love Children Association said.
The groups distributed questionnaires to parents in New Taipei City, Taipei, Keelung, Taoyuan and Hsinchu city and county from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon, they said.
Photo courtesy of the Chiayi City Government
More than 80,000 students have tested positive for COVID-19, including 27,649 elementary-school students, most of whom are not vaccinated, they said, citing Ministry of Education data.
Fewer students at the junior-high level and above have been infected, as more of them are vaccinated: 17,277 university students, 12,933 high-school students and 8,817 junior-high students, it added.
Alliance chairman Chen Tieh-hu (陳鐵虎) said a new class suspension policy had disrupted the teaching and learning process, with classes switching between online and in-person lessons, while some schools face teacher shortages.
A Central Epidemic Command Center policy that took effect on May 8 requires elementary schools to suspend a class for three days if a person with COVID-19 had been to the school within two days prior to testing positive. The policy also requires junior-high and high-school students who had been seated near a confirmed case to isolate at home for three days.
The groups called on the ministry to allow students to take classes remotely at home, and provide subsidies for parents who are the sole source of income or have other special circumstances and must take leave to look after their children.
The government should also provide enough rapid test kits for schools, as some families cannot afford to purchase the kits, it added.
Several universities — including National Cheng Kung University, National Tsing Hua University, Chung Yuan Christian University and National Chengchi University — yesterday announced that they would teach all classes online starting today until the end of the semester.
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