|A hagwon in Seoul is shut down after one of the teachers there got confirmed to have been infected with the new coronavirus on Sunday/ Yonhap|
By Kim Se-jeong
A teacher at a Seoul private cram school targeting university students wishing to transfer to another school was among newly reported COVID-19 patients, stoking fear among students who attended the institute and their parents, according to the health authorities, Monday.
Korea has many private schools, known as “hagwon,” and they have the potential to become the breeding ground for infection clusters. The Seoul Metropolitan Government said Monday despite the city’s recommendation, only 16.9 percent of hagwon in its jurisdiction had closed.
Early on, the government shut down elementary, middle and high schools and universities to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. Yet, the shutdown remained optional for hagwon and many have kept their businesses open through the outbreak.
The hagwon infection was reported as a heated debate is underway on whether elementary, middle and high schools across the country should reopen April 6 as planned. The majority of teachers and parents oppose opening next week, while some support it, claiming a further delay would cause too much disruption to the school calendar.
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), the private institute teacher is a