SEOUL-- North Korea appears to have started resuming in-person classes in schools, according to state media Tuesday, after the country shifted classes online last year over coronavirus concerns.

The North's official newspaper, the Rodong Sinmun, and the Korean Central TV Broadcasting Station reported that offline classes reopened in 87 "model schools" in North Pyongan Province.

Video footage aired Tuesday on the TV station shows students reading their textbooks inside a classroom, wearing masks of various colors.

The North is also likely to have reopened offline classes in other regions given that the schools that have resumed offline classes are located in the province bordering China.

North Korean schools usually begin a new semester in early April, but they reopened classes in June last year to avoid classroom gatherings. Summer breaks in elementary and middle schools were also extended to two months amid coronavirus concerns.

Students in masks attended the school opening ceremony last year in their respective classrooms through a teleconference system, according to media reports, in an apparent effort to avoid mass gatherings.

North Korea has claimed to be coronavirus-free but has taken relatively swift and tough measures against the global pandemic, such as imposing strict border controls since early last year.

Source: Yonhap News Agency