[WORD_ON_THE_WEB] 'It will be impossible for students to avoid the tests'

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[WORD_ON_THE_WEB] 'It will be impossible for students to avoid the tests'

As the new semester comes around, the Ministry of Education has strongly advised students aged 5 to 19 to self-test before going to school. The government will distribute Covid-19 self-test kits to students free of charge.
Following the advice, the students will be self-testing twice a week, every Sunday and Wednesday. However, this is not mandatory. The students who choose not to take tests can still come to school.
School staff will also be self-testing once a week, due to short supplies of the kits. The government is investing a total of 146.4 billion won ($122 million) in the initiative.
Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Education Yoo Eun-hye told the press in a briefing last Wednesday that the rapid antigen test kits are to be used voluntarily and that no student or parent will have to take the test against their will.
According to her, the government is searching for a secure alternative test system if the self-test kits can’t be used on younger students.
“They’ve ‘advised’ the students to self-test, but the subtle pressure will force the students to do it.”
“Even if it’s only advice, most schools will follow once they receive the guidelines. It will be impossible for an individual student to avoid the tests if all the teachers and other students are doing it."
“My son has nosebleeds often, so this is a no-go for him….”
“Even adults won’t be able to handle having their nose poked once every three days. Poor kids.”
“I think the kids should be able to self-test at home before going to school with the saliva test kits developed in Korea. It's upsetting that the product developed in Korea is used only for foreign kids. Even my daughter, who’s a second grader, can self-test all by herself.”
“Make sure every student receives a kit every week. The self-test system is necessary.”

BY LEE SI-YEOUNG, YOO JI-WOO [yoo.jiwoo@joongang.co.kr]
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