The school reopened its facilities in early May following the recent decline in new cases of COVID-19. These facilities include reading rooms at ECC and the reading room specifically for students preparing for national exams. With certain offline classes starting in early May, some colleges also opened up classrooms.
Two reading rooms at ECC reopened its doors starting May 4. For students to keep a distance from one another, only one to two seats per table are open. According to the school librarian Lee In-young, around one-third of the seats are currently open.
For preventive measures, students are required to wear masks upon entrance. A staff member at the reading room also walks around regularly to check whether students are wearing their masks.
Lee stated that the school did not receive any complaints about measures for reading rooms. However, after the number of infections increased due to Itaewon club cases, suggestions were made to close these rooms.
“The library is keeping an eye on the reading rooms to check whether anyone infected with the virus is entering,” Lee said. “We check temperatures upon entrance with thermal cameras and disinfect the rooms regularly to prevent the spread of the virus.”
The reading rooms are disinfected twice a week, each by a company that specializes in disinfection and the library itself. The company visits the school every Saturday to disinfect the rooms. Along with the regular disinfections, the doorknobs and gates are also sterilized at least twice a day.
Lee stated that the reading rooms at the library will be open after monitoring the number of infections. If the library decides to open further reading rooms, it will be announced on the library website.
Voices of concern and support raised as school reopens
Along with opening limited seats in the reading rooms, the school’s specialized class for civil service examinations also reopened its reading rooms on May 8. The newcomers to the class were allowed entrance after May 19, which was the date of the first round of exams. The rooms are disinfected twice a day, each in the morning and the afternoon. Students are often required to use hand sanitizers and wear a mask at all times.
College of Music also reopened its practice rooms on Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Gong Ae-hee, a staff at the college administration office, explained that the rooms are not open on the weekends due to disinfection during the period.
Gong stated that the common spaces, such as hallways, bathrooms, and elevators, are disinfected once a week on Saturdays.
“As for the classrooms and practice rooms, a company that specializes in disinfection disinfects the rooms, using ultrafine sprays. And, the rooms are ventilated every Sunday.”
Aside from the regular disinfections, the doorknobs and lecture desks are frequently disinfected. Also, all rooms are equipped with hand sanitizers.
A student from the College of Music shared her concerns regarding the practice rooms and studios being reopened. The student was critical about the effectiveness of fever checks at the entrances.
“One of the biggest problems is that students with high temperature are allowed to enter if they provide an excuse about it, such as temporarily having a high body temperature as they came rushing to school,” the student said. “During the night hours, students are even able to enter without any temperature checks done.”
The student also expressed concerns on students coming to school after visiting places related to recent cluster infections such as Itaewon or Hongdae.
“I am worried that there are some students who have been to areas where mass infection occurred. Even though the students are required to record their facility usage, it seems that no one is doing so.”
When asked about the manual to follow in case of a virus infection detected, the college replied that they will comply with the school’s guideline to deal with the case.