North Korean authorities recently issued an order instructing the country’s schools to be thoroughly sterilized and for disease control measures to be implemented ahead of the start of school on June 1. 

“An order was handed down on May 18 by the Central Committee about preparations for the start of school in early June,” a North Hamgyong Province-based source told Daily NK on May 21. “The orders were issued to the education departments of each province, city and county and then conveyed to individual schools.”

The order reportedly stressed that the sterilization of school buildings along with building near schools is a key part of ensuring that students are not “exposed to any contagious viruses.” 

The orders also specified that starting on May 20 provincial, municipal and county officials would be fully responsible for sterilizing all nursery, kindergarten, elementary school and middle school buildings, public bathrooms, and livestock-related facilities in their localities. The orders further stated that provincial, municipal and county people’s committees and disease control authorities should maximize their roles in ensuring these activities take place. 

The order also directed education departments throughout the country to ensure that schools properly implement disease control measures, warning that officials who fail to ensure these measures are put into place will face “severe punishment.”

“The central authorities have made it clear that if the disinfection campaign isn’t carried out properly the attitudes of those responsible will be at fault and that they will be punished severely,” the source said. 

“They strongly emphasized the fact that the health of the students is directly connected to the education of the next generation, something the party considers to be extremely important,” he added. 

The authorities also ordered that each school should ensure that students are healthy before classes begin. Schools were also directed to conduct daily checkups of all students at school entrances and inside classrooms for fevers as well as any other unusual symptoms. 

Daily NK reported earlier this month that North Korea had ordered schools to reopen on June 1.

*Translated by Violet Kim

Please direct any comments or questions about this article to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.

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Kim Yoo Jin is one of Daily NK's freelance journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.