These Pictures Show How Some Countries Are Going Back To School

As parents and students across the US prepare for the reality of a returning to the classroom amid the coronavirus pandemic, some schools around the globe have already begun their semesters.

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Schools across the US are grappling with the reality of possibly returning to the classroom at a time of surging COVID-19 cases across the nation. While recent studies have suggested that children are not as susceptible to the severe symptoms of the virus as are adults and the elderly, it is still unclear if schools can reopen safely while protecting the health of teachers, parents, and staff.

President Donald Trump has said that all schools must reopen in the fall and has threatened to pull federal funding from those who do not. Still, rising cases of COVID-19 in California have forced schools in Los Angeles and San Francisco to cancel in-person classes, while New York City, the former epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, has imposed strict benchmarks that must be met before schools are allowed to reopen.

Internationally, in countries where cases of COVID-19 are on the decline, some schools are reopening cautiously and with new social distancing guidelines. For students allowed to return to in-person learning, there is an increased focus of sanitation and social distancing — lunches, activities, and playtimes are staggered throughout the day and face masks are mandatory. Despite these safety precautions, cities like Hong Kong, which reopened schools in May, at a time when the pandemic appeared under control, are now facing a third wave of infections and have been forced to once again close their public schools.

These pictures show how some international schools are attempting to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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Students practice social distancing during the first day of school at Watpichai school in Bangkok, July 1.

Devi Rahman / FeatureChina

Health workers disinfect the campus at ORA AJI Islamic Boarding School in Sleman, Indonesia, July 4.

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Students are given free masks before taking their college entrance exams at the Alcala de Henares University in Madrid, July 6.

Antara Foto Agency / Reuters

A student wearing a protective face mask is sprayed inside a disinfection chamber in Salatiga, Indonesia, July 13.

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A student has their temperature checked before entering the Nassa School in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 10.

Devi Rahman / FeatureChina

Health workers test students for the coronavirus at the ORA AJI Islamic Boarding School in Sleman, Indonesia, July 4.

Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

A screen shows students of the Sam Khok school in Pathumthani province, Thailand, having their temperatures checked before entering their school, July 1.

Denis Farrell / AP

A pupil's hands are sanitized on returning to school in Johannesburg, July 6.

Sebastian Scheiner / AP

Israeli schoolchildren wear face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus as they walk in Tel Aviv, July 6.

Wichai Taprieu / AP

A teacher and students wear hats designed to practice social distancing at the Ban Pa Muad School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, July 3.

Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

Students of Sam Khok school wearing face masks and face shields sit as they attend a flag-raising ceremony in Pathum Thani province, Thailand, July 1.

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Students take their college entrance exams at the school Vilar in Lugo, Spain, July 7.

AP Images

Elementary school students wear face shields and masks during class in Osaka, Japan, June 15.

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Pupils wear face masks during their college entrance exams in Vladivostok, Russia, July 3.


Senior high schools in Wuhan, China, during their first day of school, July 10.

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Students wear face masks at the Excelsior Senior Secondary School in Cape Town, South Africa, July 8.

China Daily Cdic / Reuters

A teacher in a protective suit distributes test papers to students at a middle school in Handan, China, July 1.

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A student checks the temperature of her classmates at a high school in Wuhan, China, July 10.

Lim Huey Teng / Reuters

A kindergarten student wearing protective mask plays during class on Putrajaya, Malaysia, July 1.

Andrew Couldridge / Reuters

Children wash their hands at the Heath Mount School in Watton-at-Stone, Britain, on June 2.

Chalinee Thirasupa / Reuters

Students from the Wichuthit school in Bangkok, Thailand, July 1.

Peng Nian / FeatureChina

High school seniors have lunch in Wuhan, China, July 4.

Gemunu Amarasinghe / AP

A teacher guides a child on how to wash hands properly at the entrance of Makkasan preschool in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 1.

Silvia Izquierdo / AP

A student wearing a protective mask jumps during gym class at the Pereira Agostinho preschool, after it reopened in Duque de Caxias, Brazil, July 6.

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Students attend an open-air class in Srinagar city, Indian-controlled Kashmir, July 6.

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Students wash their hands as they return for classes in Bangkok, July 1.

Kim Jun-beom / AP

South Korean army soldiers spray disinfectant to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus in Daejeon, South Korea, July 2.