China students ready to go back to campus
Since the peak of the current outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in China is over, some students will begin their new semester after a prolonged winter holiday.
Previously, most schools across the country have postponed school semesters amid the coronavirus outbreak, and Chinese students have resorted to online courses for nearly two months.
Now, new cases have kept declining and the overall epidemic situation remains at a low level. As the coronavirus epidemic has basically been curbed in China, more and more students are embracing their new spring semester.
According to the National Health Commission, no new infections or suspected cases of the novel coronavirus were reported Saturday in Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, for the fourth day in a row. The Chinese mainland reported 46 new confirmed cases Saturday, with only one indigenous case.
As of Friday, over 10 provinces and regions across the country have announced dates and arrangements for starting the new semester, most of which put graduating middle and high school students at priority.
Among them, Qinghai, Guizhou and Xinjiang have already resumed classes for some students, while the rest have scheduled reopening schools in late March or early April.
For instance, students in the final year of junior and senior high schools in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region will in principle resume classes before March 25.
"I have been thinking about going back to school every morning, as stay-at-home studying is not as efficient as at school. I miss my teachers and classmates," said Chen Yidan, a graduating student at Yinchuan No. 2 High School.
Students' health and safety are still paramount despite the pressing needs to prepare for the Gaokao and senior high school entrance exam, generally known as the two most important exams for students, which are usually held in June.
The Ministry of Education has set three conditions for school resumption, namely, the epidemic is under basic control where the schools are located, schools are capable of epidemic prevention, and safeguarding the health and safety of teachers and students. All schools preparing to resume classes must have sufficient epidemic prevention supplies and emergency response measures.
"Our head teacher has reminded us to wear masks, do disinfection and take body temperatures when we go to school, and my parents have prepared masks, hand sanitizer and a thermometer for me," said Chen.
Dong Yaping, whose daughter will sit Gaokao this year, said she is confident students will be safe in the school, where each class will be divided into two smaller groups and each dormitory accomodate no more than four boarding students to reduce cross-infection risks.
"My daughter has been moved by the medical workers' stories in the fight against the epidemic and learned to love our country more, which I think is more important than only performing well academically," said Dong.