CHINA / SOCIETY
Education authority wards off mandatory parental vaccination requirements as condition to return campus in China
Published: Aug 27, 2021 02:56 PM
A worker tests temperatures with a thermal imaging camera in Zunhua, North China's Hebei Province on Monday. Large orders for the equipment are rushing as schools in China are ready to start the new semester in September. Photo: cnsphoto

A worker tests temperatures with a thermal imaging camera in Zunhua, North China's Hebei Province on Monday. Large orders for the equipment are rushing as schools in China are ready to start the new semester in September. Photo: cnsphoto



As the latest domestic coronavirus outbreaks are extinguished, the Chinese Ministry of Education has announced a number of anti-epidemic requirements at a press conference on Friday, in a bid to prevent another flare-up hitting the campuses during the upcoming semester, while calling a stop to mandatory requirements in some schools that mandate both parents and students are fully vaccinated before returning to campus.

The ministry's remarks came after several regions in China announced vaccine requirements for students and their parents, including cities in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, East China's Zhejiang Province, and Central China's Henan Province, according to media reports.

Answering to the one-size-fits-all policies in some parts of the country, Wu Liangyou, deputy head of the National Health Commission's disease control bureau, said at a State Council press briefing on Friday that the policies in question will be corrected as soon as possible, and overly-simplified measures aimed at accelerating vaccination will be discouraged, focusing instead on providing positive reasons for people to be vaccinated.

At the press conference, Wang Dengfeng, head of the ministry's department of physical, health and arts education, who is also in charge of the overall COVID-19 prevention response at the ministry, said that schools should adjust their summer vacation arrangements and control large-scale events, while also addressing loopholes for anti-epidemic measures in campuses.

The ministry is collaborating with the National Health Commission and Chinese top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan on issuing guiding documents on COVID-19 prevention measures for schools at all levels, Wang said, adding that emergency plans should be in place in case infections occur on campus. 

"The Delta variant is highly contagious and has a short incubation period. Once infection cases are spotted in schools, the range of close and sub-close contacts will be a great deal larger than before. That makes the isolation of close and sub-close contacts crucial to epidemic prevention," Wang noted.

In June, a COVID-19 case infected with the Delta variant was found in a school in South China's Guangdong Province, resulting in more than 3,000 people at the school being quarantined. 

Wang stated that schools at all levels are not allowed to start the new semester if they cannot meet local epidemic prevention rules, fail to put those measures in place, or without specific and feasible emergency plans. 

For elementary and middle school students, facial masks are not mandatory in class if there are no high-risk areas within the county or district where the school is located, authorities said at the press conference. Kindergarten students are also allowed not to wear masks. But for those in colleges and universities, mask-wearing is a must on campus.

Global Times


blog comments powered by Disqus