Korea has been taking the threat of swine flu very seriously, especially now that it's showing up in schools. In I-dong High School, at least six first-grade students have left school, allegedly suffering from the virus, though no one can tell me if any of the cases have been confirmed, and students and teachers have expressed an increasing unease. Some of the teachers have complained to me about the principal's lack of urgency on the issue, saying that it seems he is waiting for something serious to happen before he makes any changes.
On Monday this week he announced that night study would be canceled (classes finish around 5pm every day; until 10pm the students are expected to stay at school for one long supervised study period) and students would not change classrooms. During a regular school day, student classes are split into high level and low level students - high level students from different classes are grouped together, and low level share a classroom as well. This week the high and low level students will be in the same classroom, in order to keep them from moving around too much and spreading their germs all over the school.
The administration has also installed hand sanitizing machines in the cafeteria and distributed antibacterial lotion to every teacher's office and classroom. The teachers are checking students' temperature daily with electronic ear thermometers. The regular use of masks in the school has jumped significantly.
One co-teacher informed me this morning that the government is considering shutting down schools nationwide in order to prevent further spread of the disease.