School is Back in Session (For Some) in China

By Rakini Bergundy, March 18, 2020

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School is finally back in session. Well, at least for students in Guizhou and Qinghai provinces as well as the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

On March 9, high schools and vocational schools in Qinghai resumed class after over a month away from school due to the coronavirus. Qinghai has had zero new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since February 21, zero deaths and 18 cumulative confirmed cases. The landlocked province in Northwestern China was one of the least hard-hit provinces in China. 

On Monday, around 990,000 junior high school students stepped back on campus, as reported by Xinhua.  

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Image via Xinhua

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Image via Xinhua

Before schools could be opened, the Ministry of Education outlined that three requirements had to be met: the epidemic situation must be under control; the school’s basic prevention and control plans must be in place; and that public health safety must be guaranteed. 

Prevention measures put in place at schools include checking staff and students’ temperatures three times a day, staggered timetables, limited class size, regular disinfection and different walking routes. The schools have stocked up on masks, disinfectant, alcohol, thermometers and outlined detailed emergency plans as required. 

During class time all students and teachers must wear masks, and once school is in session students must not leave without school approval. Cao, a graduating high school student at Urumqi No.1 Senior High School commented, “It’s good to be back. I feel that I’m not fighting alone.” After weeks of online classes and practice exams, she’s happy to be surrounded once again by her classmates and teachers. 

Primary, secondary and special education schools in Qinghai are set to reopen next week, on March 23. Schools reopening in China are a positive indication that the peak of the epidemic has hopefully passed. However, large cities are now dealing with the second wave of the epidemic, with many imported cases being reported as travelers return to China.

[Cover image via Xinhua]

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