Taiwan: prompt action to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep schools open and safe

published 24 March 2020 updated 25 March 2020

Thanks to the early deployment of epidemic control actions by the government, schools in Taiwan remain open with strict measures to prevent infection. The National Teachers’ Association also reacted swiftly, contributing to the effort to ensure the safety of teachers and students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Currently, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in under control in the country, stressed Li Ya-jing, Vice-President of the National Teachers’ Association (NTA) and member of Education International’s Regional Committee. For the moment, the only schools closed are those where COVID-19 contamination has been detected.

On 2 February, the Ministry of Education of Taiwan announced that schools were to remain closed, extending the winter holiday by two weeks in order to allow epidemic-prevention supplies to arrive in the country.

Rapid response

Immediately, the NTA started to take stock of how COVID-19 would impact teachers and students. In order to keep schools open while prioritising health and safety for students and staff, the union called on county and city governments to provide all schools with anti-epidemic materials, such as alcohol, disinfectant liquids, and infrared forehead digital thermometers. In addition, the union insisted that frontline personnel taking students’ temperature be provided with protective masks.

In cases where educators must stay at home and self-isolate, the union called on the government to ensure funds for substitute teachers to be brought in, so that the education process can continue.