Millions of Wuhan school pupils return to the classroom

Millions of Wuhan school pupils return to the classroom in the former COVID-19 epicentre as China declares ‘a decisive victory’ against coronavirus

  • Nearly 3,000 schools and kindergartens in Wuhan are reopening to almost 1.4 million pupils from Tuesday
  • Schools have drawn up plans to switch back to online teaching should new outbreaks emerge, officials said
  • Comes as Chinese education authorities have hailed the country’s anti-coronavirus efforts ‘a decisive victory’ 
  • Wuhan has been returning to normal after lifting lockdown in April and reported zero local cases since May

Millions of students in Wuhan have begun returning to the classroom today after all schools and kindergartens in the former coronavirus epicentre have reopened.

As many as 2,842 educational institutions across the city are welcoming almost 1.4 million pupils back to the campus as the autumn semester starts.

It comes as the Chinese education authorities have hailed the country’s anti-virus efforts ‘a decisive victory’ while giving a go-ahead for most schools in the country to open again.

Millions of students in Wuhan have begun returning to the classroom today after all schools and kindergartens in the former coronavirus epicentre have reopened. Elementary school students are pictured attending a class in Wuhan on Tuesday

Millions of Wuhan school pupils return to the classroom in the former COVID-19 epicentre. Students are seen before the opening ceremony of a new semester at Wuhan High School in Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province today

Students attend the 100th anniversary of the founding of Wuhan High School on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on September 1. Around 280 million students across China are returning to the campus

Around 280 million students across China are estimated to be returning to schools and universities this month, according to The Ministry of Education.

Xinjiang in north-west China is the only region that has ordered its students to start the school year online after seeing a surge of coronavirus cases in recent months.

Wang Dengfeng, an official leading the anti-virus efforts at the Ministry of Education, said China had achieved a decisive victory against the virus after successfully cutting large-scale transmission and resuming the country’s economy.

Wuhan, Ground Zero for the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese city hardest hit by the coronavirus, will reopen all its schools and kindergartens on Tuesday, local authorities said.

State media broadcast images of thousands of students hoisting the Chinese flag – a daily routine at all public schools – despite warnings to avoid mass gatherings. 

The city said it has drawn up emergency plans to switch back to online teaching should risk levels change. It advised students to wear masks to and from school and avoid public transportation if possible.

Schools have been ordered to stock up on disease control equipment and to carry out drills and training sessions to help prepare for new outbreaks. They must also restrict unnecessary mass gatherings, and submit daily reports to health authorities.

Students attend the 100th anniversary of the founding of Wuhan High School on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on September 1. Around 280 million students across China are returning to the campus

A teacher is pictured speaking in a class at a primary school in Wuhan city, central China’s Hubei province, on Tuesday

Millions of students in Wuhan have begun returning to the classroom today after all schools and kindergartens in the former coronavirus epicentre have reopened. Students are pictured walking into a primary school in Wuhan on Tuesday

Foreign students and teachers who have not received notice from their school will not be allowed to return, it said. 

Shanghai re-opened schools in May, and the capital city Beijing, which recently suffered from a local outbreak of the virus, said it will resume all schools including kindergartens in September.

Beijing authorities require teachers and students to wear face masks on campus.

Students are seen gathering before the opening ceremony of a new semester at Wuhan High School in Wuhan Tuesday

Students enter the campus of Wuhan High School in Wuhan on September 1. A total of 2,842 kindergartens, primary and secondary schools opened their doors Tuesday to welcome about 1.4 million students in the city of Wuhan, Hubei

Primary school students arrive on the first day of the new semester in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on Tuesday

Wuhan has been steadily returning to normal since April when the lockdown was lifted, and it has not reported any new local transmissions of the coronavirus since May 18.  

Official figures show Wuhan accounted for 80 percent of China’s more than 4,600 coronavirus-related deaths and was under a strict lockdown for more than two months from late January.

The city also conducted a mass testing campaign targeting ll million residents in May.

By Monday, China had not reported zero native cases for 15 days.

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