Chinese schools delay new semester, strengthen preventive measures to curb Delta strain spread
Published: Aug 05, 2021 04:03 PM
Students play at a school in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, in February. Photo: VCG

Students play at a school in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, in February. Photo: VCG

With the new wave of Delta variant spreading in East China's Nanjing, Yangzhou and Central China's Zhengzhou and Zhangjiajie, many schools - especially those in regions with epidemic outbreaks - have released notices to postpone autumn semesters or start school ahead of time and strengthen prevention measures to curb the virus spread.

Whether the autumn semester will start as scheduled will depend on the local epidemic preventive situation, China's Ministry of Education said on Thursday, adding that students from high- and medium-risk regions will return to school at a later date.

Nanjing-based Southeast University has delayed the date for freshmen to register for the new semester (they were originally scheduled to register on August 18). The recent Nanjing outbreak has spread to over 20 cities around the country. As of Tuesday, Nanjing has reported 223 local confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the Nanjing Health Commission.

Tsinghua University also released notices on Tuesday requiring students from high- or medium-risk regions to delay their travel to return to school, such as those who stayed in Nanjing from July 20.

In addition, Tianjin University delayed college students' return to school until August 21 and 22 (from August 14 and 15 originally). Meanwhile, freshmen were also asked to postpone their registration to August 25 and 26 (from August 19).

26-year-old Chen Zilin, studying his doctor's degree at Shanghai-based Tongji University told the Global Times on Thursday that his school has strengthened its preventive measures. "Each teacher and student have to upload their health status and register to hand in their application before leaving Shanghai," Chen said. "All teachers and students from high- and medium-risk regions will delay their trips back to school."

Zhengzhou in Central China's Henan Province, which has been challenged by severe rainfall and floods recently, has reported 101 local COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday from July 30, including 85 asymptomatic ones. Zhengzhou University asked students not to return and they will announce the return date depending on the epidemic. 

Besides universities, primary, middle and high schools also released similar notices delaying or suspending some activities to start the new semester. Zhengzhou on Thursday released a notice delaying primary schools' registration date for new students. 

In Nanjing, grade one primary school students in some regions have been scheduled to arrive at school and fetch their notices at a later date. Schools will also not hold military training for high school freshmen before August 20, and a decision on whether the training will continue will be made depending on the epidemic prevention situation.

China's Ministry of Education stressed on Tuesday that it will require all schools to strictly follow the epidemic prevention rules and encourage eligible teachers and students to take COVID-19 vaccines with consent.