Key test: South Koreans sit university exam amid COVID-19 surge | South Korea

Nearly 500,000 high school students are sitting the test with stringent measures imposed to curb the virus.

South Korea fell quiet on Thursday as hundreds of thousands of students sat for the country’s high-stakes national university entrance exam amid a surge in coronavirus cases that has prompted new measures to curb its spread, including for candidates sitting the test.

Teenagers spend years preparing for the exam, which can mean a place in one of the elite colleges that are seen as key to future careers, incomes and even marriage prospects.

This year, the coronavirus pandemic has added to the pressure – delaying and disrupting the school year and at times forcing all classes online.

At the elite Ewha Girls’ Foreign Language High School many students arrived on their own or with their test-taking friends and some parents seemed more nervous than their children. Tightened curbs following a wave of new cases meant students were banned from cheering on their classmates at the school gates as they arrived for the exam.

“I’m actually quite relieved now that it’s all going to be over soon,” said 18-year-old Kim Chae-eun.

“This exam is important because Korean society makes you study your whole life up till this point for this one exam.”

Only parents were at the school gates because students were banned from cheering on their classmates because of coronavirus restrictions [Jung Yeon-je/AFP]
The annual College Scholastic Ability Test, is a high-pressure standardised entrance exam, that can set the course for young South Koreans’ future careers [Jung Yeon-je/AFP]

South Korea brought its outbreak under control earlier in the year with an effective system of  “trace, test and treat”, but in recent weeks new cases have surged again.

On Thursday, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) announced 540 new cases, bringing the country’s total caseload to 35,703, and the authorities have warned measures might need to be tightened further if cases are not brought under control this week.

The country operates a five-tier social-distancing system and greater Seoul – home to approximately half the country’s population – was put on Level 2 on November 24 as cases began to rise.

The exam itself is a particular concern, with nearly 500,000 pupils gathering in test centres across the country.

Students were checked on arrival and those showing temperatures of 37.5 Celsius (99.5 Fahrenheit) or higher – or other coronavirus symptoms – had to take the test in a separate, designated area.

Plastic see-through dividers were set up on each desk and students were required to wear masks throughout the test.

All candidates were advised to refrain from gathering and talking during breaks, with exam rooms to be ventilated after each session.

Quiet, please

The exam itself was delayed for two weeks due to the earlier disruptions to teaching, as all high schools across the country returned to online classes for a week to try and prevent school clusters.

“It will be even more difficult and worrisome to take the exam in the coronavirus

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Surge in Greenhouse Gases Sustained Despite COVID Lockdowns: U.N. | World News

GENEVA (Reuters) – Greenhouse gas concentrations climbed to a new record in 2019 and rose again this year despite an expected drop in emissions due to COVID-19 lockdowns, the World Meteorological Organization said on Monday, warning against complacency.

Many scientists expect the biggest annual fall in carbon emissions in generations this year as measures to contain coronavirus have grounded planes, docked ships and kept commuters at home.

However, the WMO described the projected 2020 drop as a “tiny blip” and said the resulting impact on the carbon dioxide concentrations that contribute to global warming would be no bigger than normal annual fluctuations.

“…In the short-term the impact of the COVID-19 confinements cannot be distinguished from natural variability,” the WMO’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin said.

The annual report released by the Geneva-based U.N. agency measures the atmospheric concentration of the gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – that are warming our planet and triggering extreme weather events.

Levels of carbon dioxide, a product of burning fossil fuels that is the biggest contributor to global warming, touched a new record of 410.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2019, it said.

The annual increase is larger than the previous year and beats the average over the last decade.

“Such a rate of increase has never been seen in the history of our records,” WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said, referring to a rise of 10 ppm since 2015, calling for a “sustained flattening of the (emissions) curve”.

WMO’s head of atmospheric environment research Dr. Oksana Tarasova said the magnitude of the increase in carbon dioxide levels over the past four years was comparable to changes seen during the shift from ice age to more temperate periods but, back then, the transition happened over a much longer timeframe.

“We humans did it without anything, with just with our emissions, and we did it within four years.” .

Global data is not yet available for 2020 but the trend of rising concentrations appears to be intact, the WMO said, citing initial readings from its Tasmania and Hawaii stations.

Like other scientific bodies, the WMO said it expects annual global carbon emissions to fall this year due to COVID measures, and ventured a preliminary estimate of between 4.2-7.5%.

Such a drop would not cause atmospheric carbon dioxide to go down, but would slow the rate of increase temporarily on a scale that falls within normal variations, it said.

“Our whole economy and our consumption patterns wire us to extremely high emissions even if we all sit in lockdown,” said Tarasova.

Irrespective of what we do to curb emissions today, much of the carbon dioxide already emitted decades ago remains in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming, climate scientists say.

Over the 2018-2019 period, concentrations of the more potent heat-trapping gas methane increased by 8 parts per billion, the report said – slightly lower than the previous year-on-year change but still above-average over the last 10-year period.

Methane concentrations data is closely watched by scientists

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Surge in greenhouse gases sustained despite Covid-19 lockdowns, U.N. says

GENEVA — Greenhouse gas concentrations climbed to a new record in 2019 and rose again this year despite an expected drop in emissions due to Covid-19 lockdowns, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday, warning against complacency.

Many scientists expect the biggest annual fall in carbon emissions in generations this year as measures to contain coronavirus have grounded planes, docked ships and kept commuters at home.

However, the WMO described the projected 2020 drop as a “tiny blip” and said the resulting impact on the carbon dioxide concentrations that contribute to global warming would be no bigger than normal annual fluctuations.

“…In the short-term the impact of the Covid-19 confinements cannot be distinguished from natural variability,” the WMO’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin said.

The annual report released by the Geneva-based U.N. agency measures the atmospheric concentration of the gases — carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide — that are warming our planet and triggering extreme weather events.

Levels of carbon dioxide, a product of burning fossil fuels that is the biggest contributor to global warming, touched a new record of 410.5 parts per million in 2019, it said.

The annual increase is larger than the previous year and beats the average over the last decade.

“Such a rate of increase has never been seen in the history of our records,” WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said, referring to rises since 2015, calling for a “sustained flattening of the (emissions) curve.”

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Global data is not yet available for 2020, but the trend of rising concentrations appears to be intact, the WMO said, citing initial readings from its Tasmania and Hawaii stations.

Like other scientific bodies, the WMO said it expects annual global carbon emissions to fall this year due to Covid measures, and ventured a preliminary estimate of between 4.2-7.5 percent.

Such a drop would not cause atmospheric carbon dioxide to go down, but would slow the rate of increase temporarily on a scale that falls within normal variations, it said.

Irrespective of what we do to curb emissions today, much of the carbon dioxide already emitted decades ago remains in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming, climate scientists say.

Over the 2018-2019 period, concentrations of the more potent heat-trapping gas methane increased by 8 parts per billion, the report said, slightly lower than the previous year-on-year change but still above-average over the last 10-year period.

Methane concentrations data is closely watched by scientists as the gas is prone to unexpected leaks such as those from the fossil fuel industry. That can make its atmospheric levels harder to predict than carbon dioxide.

Levels of nitrous oxide, which erodes the atmosphere’s ozone layer and expose humans to harmful ultraviolet rays, also increased in 2019 but at a lower rate than the previous year and on par with the average growth over the last decade.

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Surge in greenhouse gases sustained despite COVID lockdowns: UN

By Emma Farge



a crowded beach on a sunny day: FILE PHOTO: People enjoy Bournemouth Beach during an unusual heat wave in Bournemouth, England


© Reuters/TOBY MELVILLE
FILE PHOTO: People enjoy Bournemouth Beach during an unusual heat wave in Bournemouth, England

GENEVA (Reuters) – Greenhouse gas concentrations climbed to a new record in 2019 and rose again this year despite an expected drop in emissions due to COVID-19 lockdowns, the World Meteorological Organization said on Monday, warning against complacency.



a map of a canyon: FILE PHOTO: Dried-up rivers and creeks can be seen in the Queensland outback near the town of Mount Isa, Australia


© Reuters/David Gray
FILE PHOTO: Dried-up rivers and creeks can be seen in the Queensland outback near the town of Mount Isa, Australia

Many scientists expect the biggest annual fall in carbon emissions in generations this year as measures to contain coronavirus have grounded planes, docked ships and kept commuters at home.

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However, the WMO described the projected 2020 drop as a “tiny blip” and said the resulting impact on the carbon dioxide concentrations that contribute to global warming would be no bigger than normal annual fluctuations.

“…In the short-term the impact of the COVID-19 confinements cannot be distinguished from natural variability,” the WMO’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin said.

The annual report released by the Geneva-based U.N. agency measures the atmospheric concentration of the gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – that are warming our planet and triggering extreme weather events.

Levels of carbon dioxide, a product of burning fossil fuels that is the biggest contributor to global warming, touched a new record of 410.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2019, it said.

The annual increase is larger than the previous year and beats the average over the last decade.

“Such a rate of increase has never been seen in the history of our records,” WMO Secretary-General Professor Petteri Taalas said, referring to a rise of 10 ppm since 2015, calling for a “sustained flattening of the (emissions) curve”.

WMO’s head of atmospheric environment research Dr. Oksana Tarasova said the magnitude of the increase in carbon dioxide levels over the past four years was comparable to changes seen during the shift from ice age to more temperate periods but, back then, the transition happened over a much longer timeframe.

“We humans did it without anything, with just with our emissions, and we did it within four years.” .

Global data is not yet available for 2020 but the trend of rising concentrations appears to be intact, the WMO said, citing initial readings from its Tasmania and Hawaii stations.

Like other scientific bodies, the WMO said it expects annual global carbon emissions to fall this year due to COVID measures, and ventured a preliminary estimate of between 4.2-7.5%.

Such a drop would not cause atmospheric carbon dioxide to go down, but would slow the rate of increase temporarily on a scale that falls within normal variations, it said.

“Our whole economy and our consumption patterns wire us to extremely high emissions even if we all sit in lockdown,” said Tarasova.

Irrespective of what we do to curb emissions today, much of the carbon dioxide already emitted decades ago remains in the atmosphere and contributes to global warming, climate scientists say.

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Columbia University Bans 70 Students From Campus for COVID Violations as NYC Deals With Case Surge

Columbia University temporarily banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies. The move comes as New York City faces a surge in COVID-19 cases.



a group of people sitting at a park: Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: People sit on the grass at Columbia University as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 28, 2020 in New York City. As of November 22, the university banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies.


© Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images/Getty
Re-opening Continues Across Densely Populated New York And New Jersey Areas NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 28: People sit on the grass at Columbia University as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 28, 2020 in New York City. As of November 22, the university banned 70 students from campus after they violated the college’s coronavirus travel policies.

The ban followed an unauthorized trip to Turks and Caicos by students from Columbia’s Business School.

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The trip was in direct violation of Columbia’s COVID-19 public health protocols and the Columbia Community Health Compact—which all students, faculty and staff were required to sign at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year.

The compact and protocols both restricted most domestic and international travel and banned group gatherings.

“An important part of Columbia’s public health protocols is that there are consequences for community members who violate the university’s Health Compact,” a university spokesperson told The Columbia Daily Spectator.

The students in violation of the university’s travel policies will be banned from campus through December 1. However, if the students violate the policy again, they could face harsher charges said the spokesperson.

The Business School offered a hybrid model of instructions for the fall semester. This means that students had the option of “HyFlex” or complete online classes, according to The Columbia Daily Spectator.

In the HyFlex model, students had access to a combination of in-person and remote classes that alternate each day. Business students also had access to facilities in the university, including Warren Hall and Uris Hall, even if they choose to learn remotely.

The students in violation will now only be able to learn remotely without access to the university’s facilities.

Columbia’s COVID-19 positivity rate of students and faculty live both on and off-campus was 0.12 percent for the majority of the semester, according to the university’s website as of Sunday. However, during the week of November 9, the positivity rate rose to 0.22 percent with 24 students in isolation and 39 in quarantine.

New York City, like many other areas around the country, have reinstated COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the holiday season in response to a surge in cases.

New York was once an epicenter for the virus during the early stages of the pandemic, but the area since curbed its cases in the summer. However, since students returned to classrooms during the final weeks of September, New York City has seen a steady uptick in cases once again.

How Does A Vaccine Work? What To Know Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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On Saturday, New York reported over 5,970 new cases and 41 new deaths, according to data from The New York Times. Over the past

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College Football Power Rankings: Ohio State jumps Georgia as Oklahoma, West Virginia surge


1


Clemson

Looks like Dabo Swinney has a quarterback for the Notre Dame game, because he sure doesn’t have Lawrence. D.J. Uiagalelei threw for 342 yards in his first start, a 34-28 win over Boston College. Now comes the hard part: repeating that performance against a conference foe (for this season). — 7-0
2


Alabama

Jaylen who? Devonta Smith caught 11 passes for 203 yards and four touchdowns against Mississippi State. Even without Waddle, the Crimson Tide have one of the most formidable receiving corps in the country. For the first time in Mike Leach’s 234 games as a coach, he was shut out at 41-0. — 6-0
3


Ohio State

Ninety seconds into the second quarter of his second game, Justin Fields had one incompletion for the season. There’s your indicator of how dominant Ohio State has been. The game of the week wasn’t much of one. Penn State fell 38-25, and the Buckeyes pulled further away from the rest of the Big Ten. Fields has to be your Heisman Trophy leader at this point after now piling up all of seven incompletions after two games (48 of 55). 1 2-0
4


Georgia

Just in time for Florida, four defensive starters were knocked out in the 14-3 win over Kentucky. “I definitely wouldn’t say we were struggling, not at all,” coach Kirby Smart said of the offense. “It depends on what your appetite and your view is.” Smart blamed the noon ET start. Yeah, right. The snooze button was hit all right. Zamir White ran for 136 yards and Stetson Bennett IV threw two interceptions. Yawn. 1 4-1
5


Notre Dame

So here we are, a reckoning for the Irish. They’re 6-0 with five of the wins coming by at least two touchdowns. The offense actually gave up more points (seven) than the defense (six) on Saturday in a 31-13 win over Georgia Tech. But what does all that mean heading into Clemson? The Irish get their chance at what might be two meetings in the next six weeks against the Tigers. — 6-0
6


Cincinnati

The Group of Five’s best team continues to roll. The awakened offense continues to be … awakened. In the last two games, the Bearcats have scored 91 points, run up 952 yards and averaged 7.7 yards per play. The latest victim was Memphis in a 49-10 win. Only Army (24-10) has been within a couple of touchdowns of the Bearcats this season. 1 5-0
7


Florida

When you don’t play for three weeks, there are a lot of pent-up emotions. Or maybe it’s just a prelude to Georgia week. A brawl with Missouri broke out at halftime of a 41-17 win after QB Kyle Trask was hit late. It’s not fair to say that woke up the Gators. They were already up 20-7. But it was Dan Mullen who made sure to gesture to the crowd before going in for halftime. It’s Georgia week. Now’s the time to get fired up, Dan. 1
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Solar Manufacturer Array Technologies Sees Stock Surge With IPO on Cheddar

Shares of Array Technologies ($ARRY) surged out of the gate Thursday after reportedly raising more than $1 billion in capital through an initial public offering that brought the company’s value to $2.79 billion. The stock was up more than 64 percent to $36.45 per share at the close. 

The New Mexico-based solar part manufacturer is currently riding a wave of a renewed interest in electrification and decarbonization worldwide, as states and companies embrace renewable mandates and net-zero initiatives aimed at cutting out fossil fuels. 

“We want to scale with that, and having access to that capital will not only allow us to invest in the product, the portfolio, and people but also allows us to buy down debt and it will be a permanent source of capital where we can further enable utility-scale solar going forward.”

Array manufactures ground-mounting systems for utility-scale solar projects, which for the company means solar fields that produce at least a megawatt of energy.  

A solar project can use either a fixed mount system or a single-axis tracker system that tilts the solar panel throughout the day in line with the sun. Array manufactures parts for tracker systems, which Fusaro said capture 25 percent more energy. 

“So that’s significant for our customers,” he said. “It’s 25 percent more revenues.” 

Array also touts its software solutions that use machine learning algorithms to optimize production at a given solar project from 2 to 5 percent.

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Coronavirus Surge Continues At Fairfield University

FAIRFIELD, CT — Fairfield University continues to report large numbers of positive coronavirus tests after the school last week banned students living in the beach area from campus amid an increase in cases.

The university reported an additional 57 positive tests between Friday and Monday, according to school data. Last week, from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8, the university confirmed 61 cases. The school has seen a total of 237 positive tests since Sept. 1.

“… it is essential that our University community remain vigilant and proactive in our approach to this situation, to ensure that we can continue to perform our mission,” President Mark Nemec said last week in an email addressing the new restrictions.

In addition to being banned from campus, beach area students must stay in their houses and yards, and limit interaction to roommates. The ban is in place through Oct. 23. Students at the university’s Claver Hall dorm, which also experienced a high number of cases, are required through Tuesday to remain in their rooms and interact only with suite mates. Those who don’t comply with virus prevention protocols risk expulsion.

The town of Fairfield as of Wednesday had recorded 989 total coronavirus cases since the pandemic reached Connecticut in March, an increase of more than 200 cases in the last month, according to state numbers. Due to data reporting issues, Wednesday’s published town total included only 192 of the 341 cases recorded at Fairfield University and among the on-campus population at Sacred Heart University, according to the Fairfield Health Department website. The town total is expected to increase as the reporting issues are resolved.

First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick addressed Fairfield University’s recent spike Friday in an email to residents.

“While it’s not unexpected that we have an increase in positive cases in our community after opening our 16 public schools and two universities, I want to remind everyone that as a community, we must double down on our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and continue to do our part to follow the CDC guidelines,” she said.

This article originally appeared on the Fairfield Patch

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