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After investigations and evaluations, the Chinese Ministry of Education advised colleges to implement flexible control measure and fully consider local situations, if there is a need for lockdowns, amid post-COVID-19 time.
As the new semester begins, college students around the country have returned to campus. Offline fall classes have begun at most Chinese universities, as health and safety continue to be a top priority for school management. Most universities, like Wuhan University, have adopted closed or semi-closed campus management measures, requiring teachers and students not to leave the campus unless necessary, and not allowing off-campus personnel to enter without an appointment.
Some changes are in place as the campuses are trying to balance resuming classes and epidemic control. At several universities, if students need to leave campus, they need to fill applications online or offline, which then must be approved by advisers. Their movements and health codes will be followed in case there is an outbreak, and officials need to do contact-tracing.
Some of these measures drew criticism among society since it affected students' normal life and studies. Indeed, a simple lockdown measure won't be very effective to help students adapt to school life.
The official indication is that depending on the specific situation of the university, some lockdowns may need to be continued for some time, as "one-size-fits-all" plans should not be adopted. For example, if senior students need to live off campus during internships, there should be special formalities for them to enter and exit campus. Also, students that need to visit hospitals or families should apply for permission.
The move came weeks after students nationwide complained that they were being subjected to “double standards” under their schools’ policies: While they were prohibited from leaving campus for non-emergencies, faculty and staff were free to come and go as they pleased.
In south China's Jiangxi Province, some colleges have canceled the all-lockdown measures.
Several schools in Jiangxi have since complied with the education bureau’s decree. Jiangxi College of Foreign Studies said that students can enter or leave campus as long as they have valid student IDs and consent to temperature checks.
As the Chinese national holiday week is coming, students who have travel plans will enter and exit the campus frequently. This is challenging for school health departments.
Many people believe that strict epidemic prevention management implemented by universities is necessary for the sake of the students, teachers, and public health, but flexible policies in terms of lockdowns can also help the academic communities smooth out the virus situation.
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