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As Covid cases fall, Japanese schoolchildren are allowed to talk over lunch

With COVID cases showing a downward trend, schoolchildren in Japan have been given the freedom to talk to classmates over lunch. The relaxations follow two years of quasi-monastic silence imposed on children at lunchtime in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The children were asked to observe mokushokuor eat in silence.

But schools are now abandoning the code of silence as COVID cases fall and amid fears that imposing silence on young children could hamper their social and emotional growth.

The Fukuoka School Board in Japan said there remained restrictions on conversations during lunch.

Other prefectures have also started doing the same. Miyazaki ended such a lunchtime diet earlier this month. Schools in Chiba, near Tokyo, have allowed children to face each other at lunchtime and eat without speaking.

The measures and the easing of restrictions have prompted reactions from parents

“My child is used to eating in silence, and I’m sure she doesn’t feel alone because she is with her family when she comes home,” said one mother. She was quoted by The Guardian.

“I’m concerned about the possibility of infection, so hopefully they continue to eat without talking.”

Some teachers welcomed this decision.

Eating in silence has been going on for a long time now,” elementary school principal Kenji Tanaka told the Mainichi Shimbun. “Hope the happy school lunches come back soon.”

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Post expires at 6:56pm on Monday June 27th, 2022