schools reopening

North Korea has gradually begun reopening schools in the country after delaying the start of the school year for more than two months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Daily NK has learned.

University students and soon-to-be-graduating third year high students returned to school on Apr. 17, a source in South Pyongan Province told Daily NK today.

First and second-year high school students, along with middle school students, elementary school students, pre-schools and day cares, however, will remained closed until May 20, Daily NK sources reported.

North Korean state-run media outlet “Naenara” reported recently that the schools would be reopening gradually, but did not mention specific dates.

Sources told Daily NK that universities throughout the country started with the recitation of an “oath” to honor former leader Kim Il Sung from 8 AM on Apr. 17 for around 30 minutes. Elementary students (second year and above) along with members of the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League also participated in similar ceremonies throughout the country before returning home.

“Young students with weak immune systems will return to school later, but it depends on how the COVID-19 pandemic pans out,” one source said.

All third-year high school students have reportedly returned to school, except for those who had received draft orders or had been granted approval to enter a university.

“The schools aim to finish up classes within the month before allowing them to graduate,” the source added.

As Daily NK reported previously, North Korea plans to conduct classes during the summer to make up for the lost class time due to school closures.

Daily NK sources further reported that North Koreans are generally welcoming the start of the school year.

“People are feeling less anxious about COVID-19 because schools are starting to gradually reopen,” one source said.

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