National

Universities scramble to cope with coronavirus outbreak amid entrance exam season

Kyodo

Amid the growing spread of new coronavirus 2019-nCoV, universities and high schools approaching entrance exam season nationwide are setting out precautions for examinees, including allowing them to wear masks during the tests and reimbursing test fees if an infection prevents them from sitting their exams.

Chuo University in Hachioji, Tokyo, where approximately 86,000 people are expected to take entrance exams this month, plans to set up hand sanitizers in each of the rooms. Although there haven’t been any inquiries at the university in relation to the new virus, the university posted on its website a request that those who have contracted an infection refrain from taking the exams. Chuo wrote that it did not intend to reimburse exam fees for those who cannot attend or arrange replacement exams, but that it encouraged participants to gargle, wash their hands thoroughly, and exercise general precautions in order to maintain their health.

The education ministry issued a request on Thursday to all public and private universities nationwide, asking them to consider showing flexibility through measures such as holding replacement exams.

On Monday, Meiji University in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, also asked those with infections to refrain from taking part in entrance exams. Because there are over 100,000 applicants, the university would like to wait to see how the current state of infections unfolds before deciding whether further measures are necessary, according to a staff member at the university.

From this year, Kansai University in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, has adopted measures whereby students who are unable to attend entrance exams due to influenza or other infectious diseases will have their examination fees reimbursed. This will also apply for examinees who contract the new coronavirus.

In Mie Prefecture, where a case of coronavirus infection was confirmed, the board of education revealed on Tuesday plans for a special replacement exam to be scheduled in late March for those who are unable to take prefectural high school entrance exams this week due to infections. Replacement exams for those with influenza or other infectious diseases are scheduled next week, but the board of education has set a much later date for those with coronavirus, on the understanding that it could take longer to recover.

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