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(LEAD) About 60,000 take teacher exam despite virus spike

14:23 November 21, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS new info in paras 3-4, 6-7, 9-10)

SEOUL, Nov. 21 (Yonhap) -- About 60,000 people took a state-run teacher employment examination across the country Saturday despite a new spike in coronavirus cases.

The education ministry went ahead with the test to pick new teachers for public middle schools despite a cluster infection at a private institute for aspiring teachers in southeastern Seoul.

As of Saturday morning, a total of 67 students at the cram school have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19. The first case occurred there Wednesday.

The exam began at 9 a.m. at 110 sites across the country. A total of 60,233 people applied for the test.

The exam was conducted under strict guidelines to prevent infections. All test-takers had their temperatures taken before entering test sites and sat 2 meters apart from each other.

An official holds up a sign on coronavirus prevention guidelines as applicants wait in line to enter a test site for a state-run teacher employment examination in the central city of Daejeon on Nov. 21, 2020. (Yonhap)

Applicants who have tested positive, including the 67 patients in the Seoul institute, were barred from the exam.

Those who are in self-quarantine or subject to COVID-19 testing, including some 540 students of the institute, took the exam at separate sites.

The country reported 386 more confirmed COVID-19 cases Saturday, raising the total caseload to 30,403. The daily caseload exceeded 300 for the fourth consecutive day and has stayed in the triple digits since Nov. 8, according to the Korean Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

The test came less than two weeks before the annual College Scholastic Ability Test (CSAT) slated for Dec. 3. More than 490,000 students plan to take the state college entrance exam simultaneously across the country.

The government launched a special campaign Thursday to protect students from the coronavirus ahead of the CSAT, including enhanced monitoring of cram schools and youth settings to see whether they comply with the antivirus guidelines.

Applicants for a state-run teacher employment examination enter a test site in Seoul on Nov. 21, 2020. (Yonhap)


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