On Sunday, February 19, a school in the Xihu district of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, notified parents that they would suspend classes for four days after 10 students in one class were displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and/or testing positive.
The decision to stop offline teaching was made after three parents in the said class requested their children be excused from school the following day. By 6pm Sunday evening, 10 students had requested leave due to having contracted the virus.
Today, China Daily reported that in total 15 students across two schools in Hangzhou (a city 160 kilometers southwest of Shanghai) have tested positive for the virus.
Only classes with infected students have stopped offline teaching, as of press time.
A spokesperson at the Xihu District center for disease control and prevention said that when 20% of a class is infected with COVID-19, in-person attendance for said class should be suspended.
"Their symptoms are quite mild, with some coughing, but several have already recovered," revealed Zhang Junlin, principal of the primary school in Xihu District, as quoted in China Daily.
The sudden suspension of classes brought back memories of the disruptions to school life that affected millions over the last three years.
Some Weibo users attacked the school's decision, with one saying: “At first, the younger generations weren’t allowed to live their lives for the sake of the old. Now, because of 10 infections, students are having their education affected. I dread to think what it will be like in the future.”
However, many netizens supported the policy, saying that when a certain number of students are infected with highly contagious diseases such as the flu, foot and mouth disease, chicken pox and other illnesses, schools would also stop classes.
When China ditched its stringent COVID-19 policies in December, the number of infections skyrocketed. However, in the months that followed, the country built up a degree of immunity and the number of infections has stabilized.
[Cover image via Flickr]