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Osaka gov. plans to shorten summer school break to catch up on missed classes

Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura is seen speaking at the 13th meeting of Osaka Prefecture's novel coronavirus countermeasures headquarters, in Osaka's Chuo Ward, on April 22, 2020. (Mainichi/Yohei Koide)

OSAKA -- Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura on April 22 indicated his intention of shortening the summer holiday period to secure class time for high schools and other institutions run by Osaka Prefecture, under temporary closure due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Municipal education boards in the western Japan prefecture will be asked to take the same response. Furthermore, Yoshimura revealed he is planning to decide as early as in late April whether schools can reopen as scheduled on May 7.

Yoshimura spoke to a press conference at the Osaka Prefectural Government building after attending a coronavirus countermeasures headquarters meeting on April 22. There he said, "School closures have been prolonged, and it's necessary to catch up with the delay in the academic studies (of students). This should be done using the summer break."

Prefectural schools including high schools and special needs schools have been shut from March 2. The Osaka government initially aimed to restart classes at the beginning of the new academic year in April but delayed their reopening as the prefecture had the second most coronavirus infections in Japan following Tokyo.

Even if schools restart after the "Golden Week" holiday period that ends in early May, students are expected to have missed 17 days of classes in the new academic year alone. Therefore, the prefectural government plans to shorten the normal July 21 to Aug. 31 summer holiday period for class time. Yet the specific number of days to be shortened has yet to be decided.

Gov. Yoshimura says the reopening of schools "depends on how the coronavirus settles." However, he added, "Children are probably becoming stressed out at home, so we would like to resume classes if possible."

(Japanese original by Yumi Shibamura, Osaka City News Department)

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