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New school year dawns amid effective COVID-19 controls

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-08-29 22:11
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First graders have class at Taipinglu Primary School in Haidian district, Beijing, on Aug 29, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — Chinese primary and secondary schools started to partially open to certain grades Saturday, as the opening of the new school year for different grades of students will continue until Sept 7 in a staggered schedule amid intensive COVID-19 prevention and control measures on campus.

In Beijing, six grades in primary and secondary schools started the new semester Saturday, with a total number of 590,000 students, according to a source of Beijing Municipal Education Commission.

At half past seven Saturday morning, six-year-old Ren Jia stood at the gate of Beijing Bayi School and waved goodbye to his family. The first grader was immediately greeted by senior students who guided him to undergo a body temperature check and led him to his classroom.

In the school building, contact-free hand washing equipment is installed on each floor. Yellow one-meter lines and other signs are painted on the ground to remind students to keep their distance from one another.

Xu Jie, director of moral education at the school, said the orientation for new students will run for three days to get children familiar with the campus environment and the epidemic prevention requirements.

The school has prepared a gift bag for each new student, inside of which there are face masks, sterilized paper towels and their name cards.

At the High School Affiliated to the Beijing Institute of Technology, the opening ceremony for the new school year was held in the auditorium with choral performances and poem recitations. In order to prevent overcrowding, some students watched a live stream of the ceremony in their classrooms.

The Beijing municipal authority has required teachers and students to wear face masks on campus.

Kindergartens in the city will open on Sept 8. Children do not need to wear face masks in kindergartens, though staff are required to wear masks.

In Taiyuan, capital of north China's Shanxi Province, more than 800 students from grade eleven of Taiyuan No 12 Middle School returned to campus Saturday.

In the morning, they had their temperature checked and received epidemic prevention supplies provided by the school.

"We have staggered the beginning of the new school year for different grades in junior and senior high so that the epidemic prevention work can be done in an orderly way," said Feng Guolei, principal of the school.

In the spring semester, Chinese schools implemented a variety of anti-epidemic measures. Xinghualing District Foreign Language Primary School in Taiyuan pioneered the use of paper angel wings for students to help them maintain social distance.

"In the new semester, we will continue to use the 'one-meter wings' to keep children at a safe distance and help them develop an awareness of health and safety," said Zhao Gailing, principal of the school.

The Chinese Ministry of Education issued a circular earlier this month asking schools to take local anti-epidemic situations and the schools' conditions into account while making contingency plans, and to enhance their capabilities in handling possible emergencies with well-trained personnel.

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