Firefighters prepare to conduct disinfection in Wuhan No. 23 Middle School in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, April 22, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)
Wuhan, hit hardest by the COVID-19 outbreak in China, prepared to safely welcome senior high school students back to campus on Wednesday through a series of special measures. These include dividing classes into smaller sizes, staggering times for students leaving school, and keeping oral communication to a minimum.
"We have divided classes into smaller sizes, with no more than 30 students in each classroom, and desks were also arranged to keep a safe distance of 1.5 meters," a teacher surnamed Zhang from Wuhan Second Middle School told the Global Times.
Zhang said the school has been disinfecting and cleaning the campus since the end of April to ensure a safe and clean environment for returning students. "After they return, every classroom will be equipped with disinfectant and masks. Our teachers will keep a close eye on those students to remind them to keep a safe distance and avoid talking to each other unless it's necessary."
According to Zhang, the school has also arranged for students to leave school at staggered times in order to avoid too many people gathering.
Many Wuhan middle schools have installed infrared ray temperature measuring instruments to check the temperatures of anyone who enters the premises. Teachers also have to take students' temperatures three times a day, and report any abnormalities they find, according to local media Changjiang Daily.
Wuhan authorities conducted nucleic tests on all 19,178 senior high school students in the city on May 1, and none of them tested positive. Teachers also had nucleic tests in late April.
China's State Council on Monday sent another team, led by Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary-general of the State Council, to Wuhan, to take on the task of supervising the city's resumption of production and reopening of schools, to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
Tao Jie, an official from Wuhan No.23 Middle School, told the Changjiang Daily that the school will not immediately start class on Wednesday. Instead, it will educate students on virus prevention, conduct trials and training on personal hygiene, deal with any emergencies and provide psychological counseling.
"The coronavirus is ebbing in Wuhan after we saw so many positive signs, so as long as we take protective measures, it won't be a problem," said Wu Xiaoyu, a senior high student in the city. "The problem is I can't stay home anymore. I was really worried about my study, as this is the year we take the college entrance examination. So I'm really looking forward to going to school."
Currently, Wuhan has only announced reopening times for senior high school students, while return dates for other students will be announced later.