During the pandemic, Japanese students were forced not to speak during school lunches as part of efforts to prevent the virus from spreading.
However, as Covid-19 cases are declining across the country, some schools have dropped the code of silence amid concerns that it will affect the social and educational development of children as young as six.
However, their desks will continue to be oriented toward the front of the class and will need to wear a mask when joining a common “Itadakimasu” choir, a widespread expression of gratitude uttered before eating.
The measure was welcomed by teachers in the city. “Eating in silence has been going on for a long time“Kenji Tanaka, the principal of a primary school, told Mainichi Shimbun.”I hope the happy lunch hours at school will be back soon. “.
The parents, however, did not agree. While some were pleased that the little ones would now be able to interact normally with their friends, others said the lifting of the ban was premature. “My child is used to eating quietly and I’m sure he doesn’t feel alone because he’s with his family when he gets home. “, said a mother. “I’m worried about an infection, so I hope they keep eating without talking. “
But other prefectures are also relaxing their rules. Miyazaki ended the lunch regime earlier this month as schools in Chiba, near Tokyo, reached a compromise that allows children to sit in front of each other but eat without speaking.
Pressure to introduce an appearance of normalcy in schools has increased since the government lifted the “quasi-emergency” virus measures for the general population in March, including restrictions on outdoor dining.
School officials are also asked to apply a common sense approach to masks during physical education lessons after rising temperatures triggered a number of cases of sunburn among children who were asked to wear face masks. covered during the exercises.
The incident prompted Education Minister Shinsuke Suematsu to urge teachers to allow their children to take off their masks when they go to and from school and during physical education lessons.
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