By Billy Hammond (Copyright AELS)

March 4, 2020

Cram Schools: The Next Infection Epicenters?

I watched news footage on TV showing students attending cram schools (juku) from the morning due to the government’s shutdown of the schools. The economics of most cram schools dictate that they utilized limited and usually rented space to seat as many students as possible. As such, the students on TV were seated even closer to each other than they would be in school classrooms.

The cram school operators stressed that they were taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as using alcohol to wash their students hands, taking body temperatures and having their students wear masks. Still, from what we’ve seen so far in nosocomial in-hospital infections where the infected were professionals with expertise in the prevention of the same. It’s ludicrous to think that students can be expected to exercise the same level of precautions without training.

Having operated an English school for over eight years in the 80’s teaching age ranges from 4 to adult, I can say from experience that keeping a cram school open in the current environment is a very bad idea. Children have been shown to often be silent carriers of the disease, since they are often asymptomatic while infectious. A cram school environment with so many students grouped together creates a hotbed for the spread of infection.

Profits are important, but public health and safety should come first. In this day and age and in light of the emergency, cram school operators should take their classes online and keep the students at home. Creating possible outbreak epicenters is irresponsible!







English novels by Billy Hammond published by AELS



I. Majoh Gakuin and Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools Trilogy

1. Majoh Gakuin & Hikari Juku – Japanese Witch Schools

2. Lost Witch (The second book)

3. Fate & Magic (The final book in the trilogy)

II. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire Trilogy

1. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire

2. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Returns

3. Brindle – Scryer Extraordinaire – Challenges (The final book in the trilogy)

III. Fantasy fiction set in Japan

1. 21st Century Ninja

2. Regressed

3. Japanese Woman

IV. Fantasy fiction set outside of Japan

1. Dimension Jumpers