Ninth-grade students in a junior high school in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region took math class on March 16. XINHUA
As life slowly returns to normal in an increasing number of Chinese cities, some students have been allowed to head back to school.
According to Yang Fayu, the deputy head of the Qinghai Education Department, high schools and secondary vocational schools across the province opened between March 9 and 13, while middle schools have gradually opened since March 16.
The decision was made based on the local condition of epidemic prevention and control. Since March 6, Qinghai has reduced its emergency response from level III to level IV, the lowest level. By March 17, the province had also seen no new confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases since Feb 6.
To ensure schools can reopen safely, officials have inspected 144 schools since March 6, and so far, they have all met the standards required to resume classes, according to Yang.
“Every corner of the schools is disinfected regularly,” said Yang, adding that more than 1,000 medical workers have been dispatched to schools to conduct public health tasks such as teaching epidemic prevention knowledge and skills, disinfecting areas and checking body temperatures every day.
Education officials in Qinghai said teachers and students will have to have health exams in the morning and afternoon. Sick leave registration, tracing reports and disinfection will also be required. Meanwhile, schools have sufficient medical supplies, such as masks and disinfectant.
Ma Kyimotso, a minority student from the Huzhu No 3 Middle School in Haidong, Qinghai, said she was very excited about the resumption of classes. “I have to take the college entrance exam in a few months. Both my family and I have been expecting an early resumption of the semester in the last few weeks,” she said, adding that e-learning at home was not as good as studying in the classroom.
In Guiyang, Guizhou province, 12th-grade and 9th-grade students returned to school on March 16, China Daily reported.
Schools in Shanxi, Yunnan and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region are also gradually resuming class, according to their local governments. The local education departments have also asked the schools to roll out their own plans to prevent and control the epidemic to ensure a safe campus environment for students.
According to Wang Dengfeng, director of the ministry’s working group on epidemic control, resumption would be prioritized for the graduating classes in middle and high school, as they were supposed to sit for the high school or college entrance examination in June.
However, in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, which are at greater risk from imported cases of infection, schools have been told to stick to e-learning at home.