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The government has decided to allow school playgrounds to be open during the emergency school shutdown amid the coronavirus epidemic, so children can ease stress built up from having to stay at home, it was learned Tuesday.

The decision was reflected in the education ministry’s revised guidelines on emergency school closures. The ministry notified prefectural education boards and others of the revised guidelines, following the declaration by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of a state of emergency over the novel coronavirus on the day.

The revised guidelines call for the consideration of allowing access to schoolyards on the condition that children avoid closed spaces, gatherings and close contact with others, or situations with higher infection risks.

Meanwhile, the new guidelines require any school days during the emergency shutdown to be limited to the minimum necessary.

Teachers and other school staff are urged to use teleworking and staggered commuting.

The revised guidelines also call for preparing places for children whose parents have difficulties taking leave from work, as well as providing psychological care to children.

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