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Schools restart, governed by strict safety protocols

TOKYO >> Many schools reopened amid strict guidelines Monday after the Japanese government last week lifted the state of emergency for many parts of the country.

Schools have prepared for the return of students by setting up desks and other areas of classrooms in accordance with social-distancing guidelines.

Students, meanwhile, had their temperatures checked and hands disinfected before attending class.

Students at Yamagata East High School in Yamagata City were divided into two groups based on their student ID numbers. Those with odd-numbered IDs attended school in the morning; even-numbered students started their school day in the afternoon.

Both students and teachers wore masks, and teachers also wore face shields. “Unlike with distance learning, we can talk directly with our teacher. We’ll learn more,” one student said.

Children attending an elementary school in Himi, Toyama Prefecture, have likewise been divided into two groups and sat in desks arranged for social distancing.

In Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, elementary and junior high students are attending school on alternate weekdays.

Although the prefecture is still under a state of emergency, there have been few coronavirus cases in the city. “I’ve been bored over the long break. I’m glad school has restarted,” said one fifth grader at Hananoki Elementary School in Chichibu.

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