BEIJING, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Students in China are returning to campuses this spring semester after they have frequently taken online classes as a major way to study due to COVID-19 over the past three years.
The new school term is the first semester after China downgraded its management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B on Jan. 8 and introduced optimized response measures accordingly. As per the adjusted measures, schools no longer require negative nucleic acid test results from students entering the campus.
However, this doesn't mean that schools no longer pay attention to the potential risks related to COVID-19. According to the Ministry of Education, the new COVID-19 management measures highlight safety at educational institutions, as well as the health and well-being of teachers and students.
"We have formulated a set of COVID-19 response measures in accordance with the city's guidelines on COVID-19 prevention and control in middle schools, primary schools, and kindergartens," said Qin Sheng, vice president of Beijing No. 13 Middle School.
Qin said that, since the beginning of the semester, the school has implemented a number of COVID-19 response measures, such as health reporting on a regular basis and keeping records of the students who take sick leave.
In addition to taking necessary precautions to ensure that students can adapt to campus life with ease, education institutions across the country are taking steps to help them prepare for offline school activities both physically and mentally.
To cater to the students' physical conditions after a prolonged period of staying indoors or recovering from COVID-19 infection, many schools have decided to set aside time for students to gradually restore their athleticism.
At some schools, students are organized to take part in mild physical activities in P.E. classes to stay fit.
"Instead of organizing intense exercise such as long-distance running, we aim to help students restore their physical wellness through activities like ball games," said Ma Luo, director of the student sports center at the Guangqumen Middle School in Beijing's Dongcheng District.
Out of similar consideration, the local education authority in south China's city of Guangzhou also released a circular that requires schools to check the student's physical condition before arranging P.E. classes.
In terms of mental health, many schools are working out ways to ease the student's minds about returning to the campus.
Liang Hongyan, a teacher from a primary school in Miyun District, Beijing, decided to lead her students in making paper planes and guessing riddles in the first class of the new semester.
"The games help ease their minds and cheer them up," said Liang. She said that after the games, the students are in higher spirits to embrace life on campus.
After an extended period of home study amidst the epidemic, students may be troubled with various psychological pressures due to a lack of vital interpersonal communication intertwined with adolescent impulsiveness, said Li Baozhi, principal of Hengshui No. 4 Middle School in Hebei.
To address the students' psychological needs, many schools chose "mental wellness" as the subject of the new semester's first lesson.
Such efforts are well-received by the students. "The lesson is taught in an entirely different way. It is very interesting and gives me the strength to begin the new semester," said Yi Zihao, a seventh-grade student from Chengdu, Sichuan Province, after taking a mental wellness lesson featuring a cooperative game.
Currently, more plans to brighten up the students' moods are being made. In Beijing No. 13 Middle School, Qin is planning to hold a coming-of-age ceremony for the seniors in high school, which was originally planned for the last fall semester but was delayed due to the epidemic.
"We are going to invite the students' parents to honor the ceremony, so as to make it as memorable as it can be," said Qin. ■