BEIJING, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) — With a mixture of nerves and excitement, many students in China kicked off a new school year on Tuesday.
In Wuhan, a megacity once hit-hard by the novel coronavirus, a total of 2,842 kindergartens, primary and secondary schools opened their doors Tuesday to welcome about 1.4 million students.
According to Wang Chifu, deputy director of the city's education bureau, primary and secondary school students in Wuhan should carry masks with them, but they do not have to wear them at school.
Wuhan currently has no confirmed COVID-19 cases. Nationwide, there were a total of 216 confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland as of Monday.
Though the COVID-19 epidemic has waned in China, schools at all levels still took strict anti-epidemic measures to safeguard the health of students.
At about 7 a.m., senior students at Wuhan No. 49 Middle School stepped onto campus for a new semester. After having their temperatures taken, they were guided to their classrooms along a specially-designed route. Ten minutes later, students from another grade entered the school through another route.
"The safety and health of teachers and students are our top priority," said Yin Weiguo, a school official. "A thorough disinfection has been conducted in all classrooms, canteens, dormitories and toilets and will be carried out every day. Anti-epidemic supplies such as masks and hand sanitizers are also available in each classroom."
Similar measures are being implemented in schools across the country, with students in Shanghai, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Guangdong and Yunnan also ushering in their new semesters on Tuesday.
In Shanghai, over 1.5 million primary and secondary school students began school on Tuesday while in Shenzhen, students in 2,628 kindergartens, primary and secondary schools also went back to school.
"The biggest change this semester is that we no longer have to wear masks in class," cheered Gan Siqi, a second-grader at a junior high school in Liuyang city, central China's Hunan province. "Though we still have to take body temperatures regularly, we're not as nervous as last semester."