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Seoul education office to test-run self-test kits at schools from May

Cho Hee-Yeon, superintendent of Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, speaks during a press conference in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
Cho Hee-Yeon, superintendent of Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education, speaks during a press conference in Seoul on Thursday. (Yonhap)
The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education will offer preemptive virus testing for teachers and students starting next month, as part of efforts to detect transmissions early and contain the spread of the virus, its chief said Thursday.

The office also plans to introduce self-test kits at schools, whose use was proposed earlier this month by Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, in a "limited" fashion for "more aggressive, proactive measures against the virus," he said.

Cho Hee-yeon, superintendent of the capital city's education office, unveiled the plans during a meeting with reporters.

"While keeping the current virus restrictions in place, we will have everyone who feels anxious about the virus spreading around schools receive PCR tests easily and swiftly," he said.

Details were being hammered out in consultation with the education ministry and the Seoul city government, he added.

As for the self-test kits, Cho said possible destinations include schools with a dormitory of more than 100 students or sports teams.

Mayor Oh has proposed that self-test kits be introduced at schools and commercial places for a trial run in the capital to stem a resurgence of the virus. But the education ministry initially balked at the idea, citing lack of accuracy.

Cho said the office will also strengthen monitoring of virus measures at cram schools, where clusters of infections have continued.

At least 10 people had tested positive at a mega cram school in southern Seoul as of Wednesday. More than 2,100 people connected to the school have tested negative. The school remains closed until Sunday.

The country has recently seen a flare-up in COVID-19 cases, with outbreaks being reported at schools since the start of the spring semester in March. (Yonhap)



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