As of May 2020, 1.3 billion students around the world remain out of class due to COVID-19. Although the pandemic has left a lasting impact, the situation in China has gradually improved thanks to active efforts by the whole nation.
With the epidemic’s decline coming at a time when spring is warm and in bloom, we received good news about our students returning to school. On April 27, 9th Grade students at Whittle School & Studios, Shenzhen finally returned to their classrooms and to their new normal on campus. Other grades will return as well: 4th through 8th Grade students will return on May 11 while 1st through 3rd Grade students will return on May 18.
All students and staff who have returned to passed the nucleic acid detection test and met the health requirements for their return. However, the faculty and staff across all departments have not let their guard down. They strictly follow the designated procedures, guiding students to school, class, and meals while also reminding them to wash their hands, wear their masks, and keep an acceptable distance from others at all times.
On the first day back to school, 9th Graders who arrived at the Shenzhen campus‘ school gate first disinfected their hands. After that, everyone lined up one meter apart from one another and waited to get their temperatures checked according to the guidelines in place. Students could only enter the building after the intelligent infrared temperature detector confirmed their temperature was normal.
Inside classrooms, desks and chairs are no longer arranged in tables or groups. Instead, desks are arranged in a grid one meter apart from one another. Classes held meetings, “the first lesson of the new term,” that allowed students to become familiar with facts on epidemic prevention and the epidemic prevention process.
As is customary on Mondays, the flag-raising ceremony continued. To avoid students gathering, the whole school took part in a special, online flag-raising ceremony broadcasted to classrooms. Shengyuan Lv gave a wonderful speech under the flag. He spoke about how during this fight against the pandemic, the post-80s and post-90s generation bravely stepped forward. Even many post-millennials and young medical workers and volunteers stood at the frontlines to protect the health of the people in the nation.
"We believe young people can make a difference. This is why the teachers at our school are willing to bestow on you their utmost trust and support as you find out who you want to be and how to do it. For your future, and for the future of our country, we are ready to pave the way for you." At such a special moment, many students were deeply touched by Lv's impassioned speech.
The outbreak’s impact can be seen not only in the classroom, but during lunch time. Students are no longer able to talk to their friends as usual due to strict guidelines that require they be under the guidance of teachers as they wash their hands and orderly line up to pick up their food. In glass-walled single seats, students enjoy their lunch quietly. "I think the food at school is delicious and this glass partition is' really cool '. It's nice to eat alone." Even though the epidemic has changed our way of life, teachers are pleased that students have adapted to the changes and are confronted change with a very positive attitude.
Though the first day back to school ended smoothly, we all know that fighting the epidemic on campus will be a long and difficult task that requires attentiveness and patience. In the coming days, we will continue to welcome teachers and students from other grades back to school. There are still many challenges ahead of us.
We will face the unprecedented and difficult work ahead with an attitude of strict school management and process. We are confident that with the hard work of our school’s staff, the careful arrangements made by teachers, and the understanding and cooperation of students and parents, we will be able to get through this unusual period. We will continue to live up to our educational ideals by providing children with a safe, warm, learning environment where they can pursue their dreams without distractions.