Wuhan schools prepare to reopen despite having no set schedule

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/17 14:38:40

Aerial photo taken on April 14, 2020 shows vehicles passing on the Second Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province.Photo:Xinhua

All schools in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, which is also the city hardest hit by the COVID-19 outbreak in China, are preparing to reopen and carrying out work including disinfection and installation of body temperature monitoring instruments, according to Wuhan Deputy Mayor Hu Yabo.

Hu made the remarks during a video interview with national broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) on Wednesday. He said that the schedule for reopening Wuhan's schools will be consistent with the one for Hubei Province, and Hubei has yet to make an announcement.

Preparation work including disinfection, installing necessary body temperature monitoring instruments, and renovation of dining halls is in progress, Hu disclosed.

School reopening in Wuhan will be carried out in a phased fashion, and the resumption of Grade 3 in senior high schools for this year's college entrance examination sitters will get top priority. Other grades will gradually resume as the epidemic situation continues to improve, the deputy mayor said.

Wuhan lifted its lockdown on April 8 and since then, the public has been closely following updates of the school opening schedule in the city, with many even proposing online that all faculty members and students should take nucleic acid tests before the reopening of schools.

In response, the Wuhan government said that "according to the city's requirements of epidemic prevention, schools should organize faculty and students to take nucleic acid tests, to ensure a safe, steady and smooth school reopening," news site thepaper.com reported on Thursday.

An art teacher with the Wuhan Dongxihu District Primary School told the Global Times on condition of anonymity on Friday that the school has asked all faculty members to register for nucleic acid tests and such tests will be taken two weeks or so before the official restart of the school semester.

She added that every faculty member in Wuhan's schools is being  asked by the city education bureau to take such tests before resuming work.

She said that she was not aware of any similar arrangements for the students as of press time.

Yang Zhanqiu, a Wuhan-based virologist, believes that the epidemic situation is totally under control in the city with most parts of the city recording zero new infection cases for more than one month so that the school reopening in the city is imminent. 

Yang told the Global Times that it would be a waste of resources to test every school teacher and student, although he understood that it was more assuring to do so.

Random nucleic acid tests for schoolers and teachers would be enough to reach the same goal, and it is more cost-efficient, Yan proposed. 

Yang noted that wearing face masks on campus should be highly necessary for students and teachers even after school reopening.

Hubei local media outlet Chutian Metropolis Daily reported that all teachers for Grade 3, school administrators, dining hall employees and housing management personnel with the Wuhan No.12 Middle School took the tests on the morning of April 12.

The daily reported on April 8 that Wang Qihui, vice headmaster of the Wuhan No.19 Middle School, told the media that nucleic acid tests would be given to every faculty member and school employee for free, and only those who tested negative could resume work.

However, the daily quoted a Wuhan education bureau official as saying that the current preparation work does not indicate schools will soon reopen.

Chen Qingqing also contributed to the story


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