According to the Ministry of Education, so far, 30 province-level regions have made a clear schedule for the return except for Xinjiang. In Beijing, where the epidemic rebounded in mid-June and was taken in control in July, more than 100,000 college students as well as about 600,000 primary, junior and senior high school students are returning to schools starting from 29th August.
Certain primary and secondary schools have started to partially open to certain grades on 29th August, with staggered time table and COVID-19 confinement measures on campus. Some schools will open on Tuesday, September 1. By September 7th, all elementary and secondary schools in Beijing will fully open, according to the local educational authorities.
The Beijing municipal authority has required teachers and students to wear face masks on campus. Arrangements like a body temperature, contact-free hand washing equipment have been installed. Yellow one-meter lines and other signs are painted on the ground to remind students to keep up social distancing.
Schools are also running the orientation for new students for three days to get them familiar with the campus environment and the epidemic prevention requirements. Local authorities said, authorities would closely monitor the coronavirus situation for a certain period after most of schools reopen on September 1 to see if the restrictions can be further loosened. Eerlier, in June this year, certain schools in Beijing had returned to schools on June 9 but they again returned to online classes after a cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to southern Beijing’s Xinfadi wholesale market appeared.
The students who are traveling from other provinces and regions are required to take nucleic acid tests in advance at local testing sites and provide a proof of negative result while returning to the schools and colleges in Beijing, said Li Yi, spokesperson of the Beijing Municipal Education Committee. Expenses related to testing are covered by their schools. According to the committee, by August 20, 13 of the total 93 universities in Beijing had already reopened for the autumn semester registration. From August 31 onwards, officials are expecting a peak in students numbers, with around 200,000 returning to various campuses.
Report by Anshuman Mishra/Beijing