All national dailies reported that a rough consensus has been forged between the GOJ and the ruling coalition that moving the start of school year from April to September next year will be difficult. They have reportedly concluded that the introduction of a September start without sufficient preparation would cause turmoil in schools in view of the chorus of objections raised by many education experts and teachers.
In a related story, Nikkei wrote that more than 70% of prefectural education boards across the nation assume that even if public schools reopen, it will be difficult to conduct classes as usual due to various restrictions including the need to practice social distancing. School authorities are reportedly considering breaking classes into smaller groups, reducing the time that students spend at school, adopting flexible commuting schedules, and canceling some classes so as to prevent students from being exposed to the “three Cs” – closed spaces, crowds, and close-contact settings. Most schools are also likely to shorten the summer break to make up for classes that have not been conducted due to the prolonged school closure for the past several months.
Meanwhile, Asahi noted that the Japan Pediatric Society has released a report claiming that school closures due to the coronavirus outbreak are causing more harm than good for students since almost no cluster infections have occurred in schools and most of the children who contracted the virus were asymptomatic or had minor symptoms. The pediatricians reportedly highlighted the closure’s adverse effects on children, such as fewer learning opportunities and social interactions. They also pointed out the risk of domestic violence and child abuse because of prolonged time at home.