As there are only two weeks left of summer vacation, schools in Shanghai are reminding students not to leave the city, and take 14-day personal health observations before returning to campus for the new semester.
Shanghai Luwan No. 1 Central Primary School has asked students to stay in the city from Sunday on and begin personal health observations. It also told those returning from outside of Shanghai to check the risk levels of the places they have been, report their travel history to the school and follow guidelines for related tests if necessary.
"We've informed parents of the city's pandemic control measures and requirements several times during summer vacation and reiterated them on Sunday," said Gu Wei, head teacher of a fourth-grade class at the school.
On July 30, the Shanghai Education Commission released a notification asking all faculty and students of local schools to enhance health management during the summer vacation, as the city tightened its COVID-19 prevention measures after the outbreak of the Delta variant in Nanjing.
All faculty and students have been asked to report to their schools if they leave Shanghai. Those who come from or pass through high- or medium-risk areas have been asked to postpone their return to school.
Everyone coming from or passing through high-risk areas must undergo two nucleic acid tests and quarantine for 14 days at designated venues. People coming from or passing through medium-risk areas will also need to take two nucleic acid tests, but can spend the 14-day observation period at their homes.
People from cities with high- or medium-risk areas but not from the riskiest parts also need to take nucleic acid tests before returning to school.
Due to the pandemic, parents haven't visited the school campus or communicated with teachers face to face for a long time, so this summer, we decided to bring every major course teacher to students' families so they can talk to all the teachers at one time.
Gu Wei, Gu Wei, head teacher of a fourth-grade class at Shanghai Luwan No. 1 Central Primary School
"Parents have experiences in the past year, and most of them arranged travel in July and early August to avoid any trouble with their children returning to school," said Gu.
Gu said the latest COVID-19 developments have forced the school to move teachers' visits to students' families to the Internet.
According to Gu, the school's head teachers for each class led teachers of major disciplines to visit students' homes to have face-to-face communication with parents in July.
"Due to the pandemic, parents haven't visited the school campus or communicated with teachers face to face for a long time," he said. "So this summer, we decided to bring every major course teacher to students' families so they can talk to all the teachers at one time."
During their visits, teachers brought masks and shoe covers and kept them the entire time. They even brought bottled water, said Gu.
He said parents were focused on children's on-campus studies, the school's pandemic prevention measures and how children got along with their classmates, while teachers were interested in children's health conditions and vacation life.
"We had full and delightful communication, and as a teacher, I'm glad to hear that many parents arranged a lot of sports and art activities for their children instead of cramming school courses," he said.
I have been accustomed to online talk in the past year due to the pandemic, either for work or communication with my friends and relatives. So has my son. So he had a very nice talk with his teacher on WeChat last week. He was so talkative that he told the teacher his favorite cartoon is Ultraman, including the heroes and evil characters, which convinced me that he will start kindergarten in a happy way.
Guo Na, a mother whose son will start kindergarten in September
Gu said they have visited more than half of the students' families, and the rest will be carried out online.
"We prefer face-to-face communication, but under the current situation, online chats are safer for both teachers and families," he said. "We've done such things in the previous year, so it will not be a big problem for us. We'll finish communicating with every family before the new semester begins."
Parents also see online communication as a good option.
Guo Na, whose son will start kindergarten in September, said the kindergarten started "online visits" at the beginning of July.
"I have been accustomed to online talk in the past year due to the pandemic, either for work or communication with my friends and relatives," she said. "So has my son. So he had a very nice talk with his teacher on WeChat last week. He was so talkative that he told the teacher his favorite cartoon is Ultraman, including the heroes and evil characters, which convinced me that he will start kindergarten in a happy way."
Universities usually start the new term later than primary and secondary schools. Some universities in pandemic-affected areas have postponed the beginning of the new semester.
In Shanghai, many universities have announced they will start the new term as scheduled, but told students to carry out careful health observations and refrain from arriving on campus earlier than the university schedule.
The East China University of Science and Technology said freshmen should check in on September 4 at its campus in Fengxian District. Students will only be allowed in on that day unless their special requests were approved.
Fudan University, Tongji University, Shanghai University and Shanghai University of Finance and Economics have told students to carry out personal health observations during summer vacation, and avoid unnecessary visits to risky areas. They also asked those coming from or passing through high- or medium-risk areas to postpone their return to school.