Kindergarten pupil tests positive for virus ahead of expanded school reopening


A kindergarten pupil in Seoul has been infected with the novel coronavirus, the city’s education office said on Monday.

The development has led to the shutdown of several education institutes in Gangseo Ward, where the young patient lives.

The news quickly raised fear among parents with young children, just two days ahead of the planned second-phase resumption of schools, including kindergartens.

The six-year-old boy is believed to have contracted the virus from his art teacher at Young Rembrandts, a private art school in Magok of Gangseo on the south side of the Han River.

The teacher, who tested positive on Sunday, had taught 35 students at the institute until Friday and had contact with three other teachers there.

The teachers all wore masks and followed the institute’s quarantine guidelines and social distancing rules, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.

The art school’s 91 students, three teachers and two parents have been tested for the virus and are awaiting their results, which will come out early on Tuesday.

The teacher’s 38 contacts have been ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days, and 13 educational institutes in the same building as the art school will be closed for disinfection.

The boy’s kindergarten, 10 nearby kindergartens and five nearby elementary schools, including Gongjin and Gonghang elementary schools, will remain closed for two days for disinfection and other precautionary measures.

Under the government’s phased school reopening plan, schools are scheduled to resume in-person classes for the two lowest grades of elementary school, kindergarten students, middle school seniors and second-year high school students on Wednesday.

High school seniors returned to school last week after more than two months of delay due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The education office is mulling whether to have the boy’s kindergarten offer online classes to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

A decision on other affected schools will be determined based on the test results.