COVID-19: Chinese students in Wuhan return to school

COVID-19: Chinese students in Wuhan return to school

Chinese students in the global virus epicentre of Wuhan have returned to class on Wednesday; wearing masks and walking in single file past thermal scanners.

Senior school students in 121 institutions were back in front of chalkboards and digital displays; for the first time since their city — the ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic – shut down in January.

“School is finally reopening!” posted one user of Weibo; China’s Twitter-like short messaging platform.

“This is the first time that I’m so happy to go back to school; although I have to sit a monthly examination on the 8th.”

Teenagers sat at individual desks spaced a metre (3.3 feet) apart; seeing their teachers in the flesh after months of distance learning.


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Wednesday’s back-to-school was the latest step in a gradual normalising of life in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province.

The city, where the coronavirus appeared late last year before spreading around the world; was locked down for 76 days and only reopened last month.

Only the province’s oldest students were present on Wednesday — vocational students; and seniors who are due to take the make-or-break university entrance exams.




Return dates have generally not been confirmed for junior and middle school students; although some localities have allowed their return as well.

Officials in Wuhan say students and staff must all have had virus tests before going back to school; and campuses have been disinfected and cleaned.

In preparation for reopening, some schools spaced out their desks; and organised smaller class sizes, according to local media.

Thermal scanners greeted everyone walking through school gates; and anyone with a high temperature was not allowed in.

State-run China Daily said some places arranged staggered arrival times for teachers and students.


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Armed police officers were seen standing guard at the entrance of Wuhan No.17 Middle School; with officers also pictured outside other schools around the province.

Elsewhere in China, schools that have been closed or online-only since January began gradually reopening last month; with Beijing and Shanghai letting some students return last week.

China’s major cities are gradually returning to normal after imposing strict travel restrictions; and closing huge swathes of the economy to control the spread of the virus.

In recent months infections nationwide have dwindled; and there have been no new cases reported in Hubei province for over a month.


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Over a five-day holiday to start the month, there were 115 million domestic trips; with many tourist sites reopening — although with limited attendance.

Shanghai Disneyland will reopen next week, the entertainment giant said Tuesday; with enhanced safety measures including temperature screening and social distancing.

However, most foreigners are still banned from entering the country; as China works to contain infections being brought in from overseas.

Chinese nationals returning home must undergo 14 days of quarantine.

Source: AFP

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