It has been more than a month since the first batch of Chinese students returned to school. As China has brought the COVID-19 outbreak under control through arduous efforts, nearly all of China’s provinces have recently announced the offline resume of school classes, covering more than 107 million students.
Under such a large-scale school resuming, prevention and control is still a top priority among the whole society. To safeguard the students and staff, schools nationwide have taken various special-designed measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Given that there would be a potential for large gatherings when lots of students come to schools in the morning, body temperature check areas are required to be set at the school gates. Students should follow a prescribed route to walk through the thermal cameras. Plus, schools in some cities like Fuzhou in Fujian Province, southeast China, allow students to enter school according to the reserved time-slots every morning.
After entering the campus, several spots have been set up, and teachers on duty will remind students to keep the social distance. When we review the warm stories, most of the innovative approaches have been carried out at this step.
To maintain the social distance, four classes of first-year pupils at Yangzheng School in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang Province in east China wear their self-made “distance hats” while returning to schools. Same for students from a primary school in Liaoning province in northeast China.
Similarly, Students at Xinghualing District Foreign Language Primary School put on meter-wide “wings” as they returned to classes on May 18th in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. The “wings” are made by the students and their parents using waste materials with different colors, styles, and shapes. Additionally, notions like “Keeping our distance and helping us safe” and “One-meter distancing out of love” are written on them. Moreover, students in Dalian provinces are encouraged to greet their classmates and teachers by fist-bump instead of a hug.
Before walking into the classroom, students should accept temperature checks for a second time and perform hygienic hand disinfection. And in the classroom, students and teachers still have to wear masks except those in low-risk areas.
At the current stage, students in lower school grades have not returned to school in many areas. Thus most schools have the conditions to divide students who attend seated classes on the campus into different groups to control the population density in each classroom. For instance, a primary school in Fuzhou has divided the classes in Grade 6 into Group A and Group B, according to the number of school ID. “I will teach the students in different classrooms by turns, teaching the same content for each group in 20 minutes.” Said a math teacher.
More strict and extensive measures have been implemented in Hubei province, especially in Wuhan city. For example, schools in Wuhan should guarantee that there are no more than 30 students in each classroom. And reported by Xinhua News Agency, Wuhan No.23 middle school placed a transparent board on each desk as a precautionary measure against virus spread. The Wuhan government also advocates schools to extend teaching time and continuously provide online tutoring to guarantee students’ learning effectiveness.
Students are encouraged to do more outdoor exercise to enhance their immunity, and there are also several detailed guidelines. He Yingquan, a high school PE teacher in Liaoning Province, northeast China, said that students had gained a lot of weight even 5 kilograms, and their physical fitness has decreased obviously after the long semester break.
He Yingquan further pointed out that compared with the situation before the COVID-19 outbreak, PE class now has incorporated fewer strenuous exercise like running, but more skillful guidance and games that can maintain a certain distance. Due to the masks that can obstruct airflow and hamper breathing, students nationwide are not required to wear them when having PE class. Also, given that the epidemic may have negative impacts on students’ mental health, the Ministry of Education requires schools to design interesting training programs to release students from depression.
In addition, schools also make efforts on dining arrangement to allow for social distancing, such as setting different lunchtimes for each group of students, and distributing meals to each student. Moreover, students are not allowed to sit closely and have or share meals.
Fearing a second wave of infection, Shanghai previously only allows students in Grades 9 and 12 to go back to school, and recently, the Education Bureau announces lower grades and kindergarten students can return on June 2nd. The primary schools, secondary schools, and kindergartens in Capital Beijing will reopen in stages from June.
According to a mother whose kid is attending an international kindergarten in Beijing, “the school will reopen on June 8th, but ban the entry for students who arrived back to Beijing just in the past 21 days. And people living with them like parents and grandparents should also obey the rules.” Said her.
Maybe there will be more creative measures when almost all the students across the country go back to school in the next week, we will always follow up, and wish all the students a happy semester!