Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: Wuhan's senior school students return to class

High school senior students studying in a classroom with safety measures in place in Wuhan, China's Hubei province, yesterday. Only the province's oldest students were back in school yesterday - vocational students and seniors who are due to take the
High school senior students studying in a classroom with safety measures in place in Wuhan, China's Hubei province, yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BEIJING • Chinese youngsters in the global coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan filed back to class yesterday, wearing masks and walking in single file past thermal scanners.

Senior school students in 121 institutions were back in front of chalkboards for the first time since their city - ground zero of the pandemic - shut down in January.

"School is finally reopening!" posted one Weibo user. "This is the first time 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 apart, seeing their teachers in the flesh after months of distance learning.

Yesterday's return to school was the latest step in a gradual normalising of life in Wuhan city and the rest of Hubei province. The city was in lockdown for 76 days and reopened only last month.

Only the province's oldest students were present yesterday - vocational students and seniors who are due to take the university entrance exams. Return dates have generally not been confirmed for junior and middle school pupils.

Wuhan officials said students and staff must all have had virus tests before going back to school, and campuses have been disinfected.

Thermal scanners greeted everyone walking through school gates, and anyone with a high temperature was not allowed in. Armed police officers stood guard outside Wuhan No. 17 Middle School, with officers also pictured outside other schools around the province.

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

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2020, with the headline 'Wuhan's senior school students return to class'. Subscribe