50,000 Shanghai students attend postponed college entrance exams amid new resurgence
Published: Jul 07, 2022 09:07 PM
On early Thursday morning, students lined up to walk into the Shanghai Shixi High School, one of the designated college entrance exam sites following preventive epidemic measures.Photo: Chen Xia/GT

On early Thursday morning, students lined up to walk into the Shanghai Shixi High School, one of the designated college entrance exam sites following preventive epidemic measures. Photo: Chen Xia/GT

Around 50,000 Shanghai students on Thursday attended the postponed national college entrance examinations, or gaokao, under strict epidemic preventive and control measures, as the city experiences a third resurgence of COVID-19. 

Shanghai had already postponed the gaokao for about one month to July 7 to 9, Thursday to Saturday, due to the first round of Omicron outbreak that forced the city to enter a two-month lockdown.

On Thursday morning, a Global Times reporter saw that students lined up to walk into Shanghai Shixi High School, one of the designated gaokao sites, following preventive epidemic measures including temperature checks and hand disinfection. 

Each student took a commitment letter with them to indicate their health information including their temperature records in the previous 14 days and negative nucleic acid testing results. 

Parents accompanied their children, with some wearing cheongsam, a traditional qipao dress, to wish their children good luck, as qipao sounds similar to the Chinese idiom "qikaidesheng," which means to win. Some brought sunflowers for their children to send good wishes.

It has not been easy for Shanghai students, as apart from the delay to the test, they had to study online for quite a while due to the epidemic, a mother told the Global Times on Thursday. 

After Shanghai lifted the lockdown in June, the city still detected new COVID-19 infections, which posed some challenges in the city's epidemic prevention. Shanghai on Wednesday registered 32 new confirmed cases and 22 asymptomatic carriers, among them, two of them were found at the community level, the health authorities said on Thursday. 

So far, all the cases reported recently in Shanghai were caused by the BA.2.2 sub-variant. The new BA.5 sub-variant, which spreads faster, has not been detected after viral genome sequencing, according to local authorities.

More than 2,200 designated gaokao sites have been arranged and authorities have been making efforts in strict epidemic prevention to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for students, according to education authorities. Due to the hot weather, all gaokao sites will be air conditioned, media reported. 

Shanghai education authorities on July 1 released notices to remind all students to do nucleic acid tests twice in the three days before the tests begin, and especially on Wednesday, the day before the exams start. The authorities arranged designated sites to provide nucleic acid testing services for students from Monday to Wednesday.

At exam sites which were designated for students from risky regions, authorities have provided vehicles to transfer them under closed-loop management.   

Students must print out a nucleic acid code in advance for testing at the exam sites on Thursday and Friday, and they are required to take an antigen test before they enter the sites, according to the authorities.

"I have no concerns over the epidemic as the preventive measures have been implemented well," a father surnamed Meng told the Global Times on Thursday. Meng noted that his son will take a nucleic acid test at the exam site after they finish the math exam in the afternoon.

All examinees are required to wear N95 or KN95 face masks on the way to and from exam sites, and they need to wear a mask during examinations after their identity is confirmed. Students with fever or any other abnormal situation will be sent to back-up exam sites under quarantine, according to authorities.

Police officers were present to maintain order and ensure safety. This is the second time 25-year-old officer Xing Chen has been on gaokao duty. 

Around 7 am on Thursday morning, officers arrived at Shanghai Xinzhong Senior High School, one of the designated exam sites, where they supervised parking and maintained order, Xing, who is based at Pengpu police station, Jing'an branch of the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, told the Global Times on Thursday.

In downtown Huangpu district, security checks and inspections were strengthened at public venues and construction sites around the designated gaokao sites including small- and medium-sized hotels and rental houses to reduce potential risks in a timely manner and ensure there will be no noise during the gaokao, according to Huangpu public security bureau.