All Schools Resume Classes in Japan’s Quake-hit Noto Peninsula; Children Share Senior High School Facility After Month-long Closure

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Children arrive at Wajima Senior High School in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Tuesday.

WAJIMA, Ishikawa — Classes resumed for elementary and junior high schools in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, at a local high school on Tuesday, almost a month since the city was hit hard by the Noto Peninsula Earthquake on Jan. 1. The prefectural-run Wajima Senior High School is accommodating students from seven schools as many of the other schools in the city still serve as evacuation shelters. Despite such circumstances, children were seen smiling as they reunited with classmates for the first in a long time. According to the Ishikawa prefectural board of education, all public elementary and junior high schools in the prefecture that were closed due to the earthquake have now reopened.

The six elementary schools and one junior high school that reopened Tuesday were conducting lessons online and provided other means for learning. On Tuesday, 164 schoolchildren out of 915 from these seven schools — many of whom have evacuated the area — resumed their learning in the classrooms of Wajima Senior High School. Seventy-six people who were sheltering in the high school’s classrooms were relocated to its gymnasium.

Teachers and others stood along the walking routes to the school just after 8 a.m. on the day to watch over the children.

“I want to play a lot with my friends and talk about the earthquake,” said a 9-year-old third grader who came to school from an evacuation shelter. For the time being, light physical exercise and learning from printed materials will be conducted by grade level from 9 a.m. to noon in lieu of regular classes.

Currently, a total of 400 junior high school students from Wajima, Suzu, and Noto have been evacuated in groups to facilities in Kanazawa City and other areas. They will attend junior high schools located near the facilities they are sheltering in until around late March.