Schools Across the Globe are Reopening Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic


Many schools across the globe have reopened to allow children to begin their next school year alongside their teachers and peers. As policymakers and parents continue to debate whether it is the right time to send their children to school or abide by the current regulations that come along with the coronavirus pandemic, other countries have set an example in the precautions taken to mitigate the risk of coronavirus in schools.




Americas Region

With cases of COVID-19 spiking in many areas of the United States, and a greater resurgence expected in the fall, a “one-size-fits-all” solution is not likely. Each state has set their own guidelines for the reopening of schools with many states opting for another semester of virtual learning, or hybrid plans mixing in-person teaching and remote classes. Even within individual states, cities are asking schools to continue virtual learning while suburban and rural areas return to school. For more details about each of the states, visit USA Today’s website.



Many schools across Canada will be returning to in-person instruction beginning in the first week of September. Canada has implemented a similar system for their back to school preparations with each province deciding on their own precautionary measures for returning to school. For specific information about each province, visit the Yahoo News website.



In South America and the Caribbean, the current health crisis is threatening children’s access to education. Many regions have been struggling to provide virtual learning to the students in low connectivity areas and other regions have tried broadcasting educational information via television and radio. For more information on the current situation, visit the Enfoque Educacion website.


Asia Pacific Region

Many Asian countries have implemented strict precautionary measures in their school systems as students return to school. South Korea, Japan, and China have reopened schools before many other countries and more information about these countries can be found on the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada website.

  • South Korea reopened schools in late May using a testing and monitoring approach and has been gradually bringing students back to school starting with Grade 12 students and then going to lower grades. Upon seeing outbreaks in a few communities, they quickly implemented a survey system that students fill out before entering the school facility regarding their overall health and the health of their household members including if anyone in their household is in quarantine.


  • Japan reopened schools beginning in June. However, the country is still using a multi-phase and local approach to reopening schools depending on where the clusters of COVID-19 cases occur.

  • China has detailed and targeted guidelines for students that are returning to school and has gradually reopened schools since Mid-May. The Chinese Ministry of Education published different school operation guidelines for lower and higher education systems, addressing different organizational structures and age groups.



Australia and New Zealand have sent kids back to school with strict hygiene guidelines in place such as requiring hand sanitizing prior to entering campus and keeping students spaced out in the classroom. Australia places a high level of importance on hygiene and the government is providing an additional 10 million AUS dollars (USD$6.56 million) to help schools cover the cost of soap, hand sanitizer and classroom cleaning products. More information is available on CNN’s website regarding the reopening of schools in Australia and New Zealand.

Other countries in Asia Pacific, such as Vietnam, are gradually opening schools dependent on cases of coronavirus in the region. Other countries like India, who are still struggling with exponentially growing COVID-19 cases, are not ready to send children back to school and parents are opting to continue their children’s education through online media.


European Region

Schools across Europe are reopening as cases of coronavirus have been contained and governments insist that students return to the classroom environment under a few health guidelines that vary by region and country.


  • Britain gradually opened schools starting from primary school and working their way upwards in June and has instructed students that face masks are required in communal spaces. Scotland opened schools in August and has imposed strict rules about requiring face masks while at school.

  • France will reopen schools the first week of September and has instructed parents that attendance is mandatory. Schools are told to enforce students over the age of 11 to wear face masks, limit the mixing of age groups, and ventilate and disinfect classrooms.

  • Germany reopened schools in August and has reinforced mask wearing in older students and teachers while also ensuring that different age groups use different entrances and break areas.

  • Greece has extended the reopening of schools to mid-September due to a surge in COVID-19 infections and will hand each student and teacher face masks upon entry in school facilities.

  • Italy is set to reopen schools by mid-September and has implemented measures to mitigate the risk of contagion by staggering entry times, using single-desks, wearing masks when arriving and leaving school premises, and using distance learning methods for bigger class sizes.

For more information regarding school reopening in the European region or more country-specific information, visit the Reuters website.


Middle East and North Africa Region



Countries in the Middle East Region will be making various changes in their school systems with a strict emphasis on safety and health measures. Some changes will be related to the morning school run, campus entry and classroom norms to lunch breaks, physical education classes and the trip back home. In the United Arab Emirates, parents ultimately retain the option of choosing between remote learning, physical attendance, or a combination of both. For those who choose in-person learning, children above the age of 12 are required to take the COVID-19 PCR test before the start of the new academic year and share the report with their school. For more information about how the UAE is handling the reopening of schools this semester, visit the Gulf News website.

Posted: 10/9/2020 9:00:00 AM