Q&A about Novel Coronovirus (For the General Public)

April 4, 2020

8   About school closures

37  Will temporary closures of schools be made on a regional basis in the future?  (UPDATED)

 

 

Since March 2, temporary closures have been made at elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide. However, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) has issued guidelines for reopening schools, and efforts are being made to reopen schools from the new semester.

 

At the Experts' Meeting on New Coronavirus Infection Control on April 1, at this time it is believed that children do not play a significant role in the spread of the disease, but in “Infection Expansion Cautionary Areas” (areas which have seen a large increase in the number of people infected in the last week), some districts may consider measures to close a certain portion of schools.

 

In response to this, many regions are preparing for school reopening from the new semester, but in Tokyo, for example, we have decided to extend the Tokyo Metropolitan School holidays to May 6.

 

In this way, depending on the local situation and at the discretion of the local government chief, it may be possible to request the school management to order temporary closures.

 

In addition, if kindergartens decide to close temporarily, please give attention to provision of childcare services to infants who need childcare while taking thorough measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

 

Source:  Q&A regarding reopening of schools (for children, guardians and the general public)  (MEXT homepage)

https://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/coronavirus/mext_00003.html

Q38  Temporary school closures is delaying children's learning, but will it be possible to recover these delays after reopening?   (UPDATED)

 

In order to catch up on the learning delays, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has requested each school to provide lessons and supplementary lessons that are designed to make up for the delay.

MEXT has also set up a “Child Learning Support Site” (*) that shows ideas and teaching materials to use in home learning in each subject and introduces teaching materials and videos that can be used at home. We provide support for home study.

 

In addition, the government asks that schools and educational institutions take measures to flexibly deal with the recognition of children's completion or graduation of their respective grades, and to ensure that there is no disadvantage for children in going up a grade or graduating to the next school level.

 

(*)https://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/ikusei/gakusyushien/index_00001.htm

Q39  Will nursery schools and kindergartens be temporarily closed at the same time?  (UPDATED)

Nursery schools and kindergartens are open as usual.

 

However, temporary closures may be made if children or staff members are infected by the novel coronavirus, or if local governments determine that the infection is spreading in the area.

 

For areas designated as “Infection Expansion Cautionary Areas”, where a portion of schools are closed temporarily, 1. Reduce the provision of childcare, or 2. When it is difficult to reduce the provision of childcare, etc., it may be necessary to provide childcare only for the children of workers who are unable to take leave while closing the nursery for others.

Q40   What kind of measures are being taken to support children who have returned home temporarily from China, in terms of support for their entrance to schools and to prevent bullying?

 

We consider it very important to provide educational support, including securing learning opportunities, to children and other students who have temporarily returned from China. For this reason, please contact the offices below if you have any questions or concerns about enrolling in a school in the area where you live (in Japan) or if you have any problems with the procedures following enrollment.

 

Type of school / Office to contact

Public school (Kindergarten, elementary and middle school, high school, special needs schools):  Education committee of the prefecture/local government office where you live

 

National, Private schools:  Individual school offices.

 

In addition, if various problems arise, relating to the temporary acceptance or school transfer due to the sudden return from China and other countries, in order to respond to consultations with students, parents, and school teachers and staff at the receiving school, we have an education specialist at the Japan Overseas Educational Services and we can provide specialist knowledge so please use this.

 

Japan Overseas Educational Services:   Inquiries

Reception hours: Mon-Fri, 10: 00-17: 00

(From overseas) + 81-3-4330-1351

(From Japan) 03-4330-1351

 

In schools, "bullying" and "prejudice" against children and students due to novel coronavirus infections are not allowed. For this reason, based on the “Act for the Promotion of Measures to Prevent Bullying” and the “Basic Policy for the Prevention of Bullying”, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has requested schools and boards of education together with children, students and parents to respond to the issue.  On February 7, the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced the following message:

1)  To act calmly based on the right knowledge

2)  (in order to do this,) To collect and understand accurate information

3)  Bullying and prejudice are not tolerated, and so in order to ask them to take appropriate measures, we have posted on the special site on the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology website and disseminated on SNS.

 

Please use it for daily guidance at school and information sharing.

 

See website of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) for more details (in Japanese) https://www.mext.go.jp/a_menu/coronavirus/index.html

Q41  What did the Expert Meeting on the Novel Coronavirus Disease Control which met on March 9 discuss?  Based on the expert meeting discussion on February 25, have the measures which the government requested been effective?

 

On March 9, the Expert Meeting on the Novel Coronavirus Disease Control  examined the results of analysis of the incidence of patient clusters (populations) nationwide and published their views.

According to this, the number of infected people is on the rise, but the analysis of single infected people leading to secondary infections, based on data of domestic cases (as of February 26), showed that approximately 80% of those who were severely or mildly infected did not lead to secondary infections,  and there the occurrence of a patient cluster (group) could be detected relatively early.  As a result, as of March 9, it stated that "Japan's situation has not progressed to an explosive spread of infection, and may be holding up to a certain extent."

 

Regarding the situation in Hokkaido, it is difficult to estimate the effects of the measures unless at least about two weeks after the declaration of emergency.  After this point, based on scientific indicators an assessment will be made and it is planned to be presented on March 19, 2020.

 

Based on the analysis of measures taken in Hokkaido, the situation of other regions will be confirmed, and including measures being taken nationwide, the ideas of the expert meeting will be presented.

 

Source:  The Government of Japan Expert Meeting on the Novel Coronavirus Disease Control, "Views on the Novel Coronavirus Disease Control" (summary version in English), March 9, 2020.


https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/10900000/000608425.pdf

Q42: What did the “Special Meeting on Novel Coronavirus Infectious Disease Control” on March 19 discuss? What will the government do in response to this? 

 

On March 19, the Expert Group on the Novel Coronavirus Disease Control released an analysis of the state of infection in Japan and the effects of efforts to prevent the spread of infection, and published recommendations to the government and local governments.

 

According to this report, the effect of domestic measures was able to avoid a rapid increase in the number of infected people in Hokkaido due to the prompt efforts of the local people following the declaration of emergency in Hokkaido. With regard to the national situation, actions such as the self-restraint of large-scale events, simultaneous closure of schools, and cooperation for staggered work, even though there are still some things which are not fully understood, thanks to the actions of the whole population the number of the number of effective reproductions (the average number of secondary infections caused by one infected person) has been below 1 since the beginning of March.

 

Regarding the status of domestic infections, while it is said that the situation has been sustained, the number of cases being brought into Japan from other countries is increasing, and there have been sporadic cases where the infection source (link) cannot be tracked. According to some analysts, the spread of infection was seen in some areas, such as in urban areas, where the number of infected people was gradually increasing.

 

Even in the case of foreign countries, if the number of patients whose source of infection (link) is unknown continued to increase in the future, and if such a region expands to nationwide, it is thought that it can lead to a large-scale outbreak with widespread infection.

 

For this reason, the government is making every effort to drastically strengthen cluster measures to break the chain of infection and to develop a healthcare delivery system that focuses on medical care for severely ill persons in preparation for a rapid increase in the number of infected people.

 

Also, citizens are strongly urged to avoid places where the three conditions of: (1) closed space with poor ventilation, (2) crowded, and (3) conversations are taking place in close proximity, are present at the same time.

 

~ You can stop the illness of many people and save lives by simply avoiding the “place where the three conditions overlap at the same time”. ~

 

”Views Expert Meeting on the Novel Coronavirus Disease Control As of March 19" Excerpts in English (PDF) (https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/10900000/000611515.pdf)

Q43. The basic policy on measures against new-type coronavirus infectious diseases (March 28, 2020) has been decided. What is the content of this policy?  (NEW)

 

On March 28, the government's Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters decided on a basic policy to be stipulated in the Act on Special Measures against Pandemic Influenza [note:  not official name].

 

This Basic Policies present measures to be taken so that the government, local governments, and the people will work together to have an accurate grasp of the situation and further advance countermeasures against the novel coronavirus infectious disease.

 

The general thrust of the policy is as follows.  To share information and take measures on containing clusters in different regions by reducing opportunities for contact with infected people; to curb the speed of the spread of infection; by conducting surveillance activities and information collection, and providing appropriate medical care, to protect the elderly and reduce the number of seriously ill patients and deaths;  to minimize impacts on society and economic institutions through measures to prevent spread and economic and employment measures.  Based on various situations, the policy has consolidates practical and implementable measures taking into account expert knowledge.

 

Basic Policies for Novel Coronavirus Disease Control by the Government of Japan (March 28, 2020) – see English summary https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/10900000/000617686.pdf

Q44 What is the status analysis and recommendations of the “Novel Coronavirus Infectious Disease Control Experts Meeting” announced on April 1?  (NEW)

 

On April 1, the Expert Group on the Novel Coronavirus Disease Control conducted a status analysis of the current situation, and published the "Situation Analysis and Proposals for New Coronavirus Infections Countermeasures" that summarizes the results of the analysis.

 

According to this report, regarding the status of infections in Japan, "overshoots (explosive surge of patients) have not been seen so far as in other countries, but cluster infections have been reported one after another mainly in urban areas, and the number of infected people is increasing rapidly.  Against this backdrop, there are some regions where the medical supply system is becoming constrained, and strengthening the medical supply system is an urgent issue." Regarding the overseas situation, "Explosive spread of infection has occurred in Europe and the United States, and the global situation is becoming more severe."

 

As indicators to be considered when judging the spread situation by region, the report showed the 1. Number of newly confirmed patients; 2. Number of newly confirmed patients whose link is unknown;  3. Number of Returnees / contact persons who consulted the outpatient clinics.  In addition, the basic approach and possible actions were indicated for each of the three regional divisions: "Warning area for spread of infection", "Area of ​​confirmed infection" and "Area of ​​unconfirmed infection".

 

Regarding schools, "it is important to take into account the [infection] spread of each area," and in the "warning area for infection spread," "temporary closure of schools in that area should be considered as an option. "

 

In addition, the proposals point out thorough efforts to avoid the “three Cs” (closed spaces, crowded places, close-contact settings” and what to do in terms of seeking a medical consultation if you become a patient.  It also explains that it is necessary to secure the medical system which gives priority to the severely ill.

 

“Status analysis and views on the Novel Coronavirus Infection Strategy” (April 1, 2020);  Meeting of the Expert Group on the Novel Coronavirus Disease Control.