Japan starts examining impact of nationwide school closures

Japan Times -- Feb 07
The education ministry has kicked off its first extensive survey to examine how elementary and junior high school students were affected by nationwide school closures implemented in spring 2020 in the fight against the coronavirus.

In order to assess the impact of the measure in terms of children’s learning and psychological well-being, the ministry is handing out questionnaires to principals of selected elementary and junior high schools, as well as to students of those schools and their parents. People who fill out the questionnaires will be asked whether there were any physical or emotional changes for the children.

The ministry plans to conduct a follow-up survey covering the same respondents in fiscal 2021, which starts in April this year. It also plans to have experts and others analyze the results.

At the end of February last year, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked elementary, junior high and high schools across Japan to close starting the following month. According to the ministry, 98.9% of public schools were closed as of March 16.

While the school closure was initially introduced as an early spring break, the period was extended as the government declared a nationwide state of emergency over the coronavirus in April. Many schools finally reopened fully between May and June.

- Japan Times