Photo taken on June 6, 2020 shows a sign reminding students to register their health information before entering a canteen in Tsinghua University in Beijing, capital of China. Graduating students of universities in Beijing are allowed to return to campuses gradually from Saturday, according to local authorities. (Xinhua/Ju Huanzong)
Graduating students of universities in Beijing are allowed to return to campuses gradually from Saturday, according to local authorities.
More than 20 universities including Peking University, the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) and Beijing University of Chemical Technology (BUCT) are expected to welcome back over 4,800 graduating students on Saturday.
This move follows the reopening of primary and middle schools on June 1, as the COVID-19 epidemic continues to wane in the Chinese capital.
Beijing announced Friday that it would lower its emergency response to the novel coronavirus epidemic from the second level to the third level starting from Saturday.
Peking University said around 7,000 final year students will return to campus on a voluntary basis in four batches this month.
It said its staff has started to embark on back-to-campus work for graduating students since May and established 10 special teams to engage in the work.
Twelve teachers of Peking University even traveled to central China's Hubei Province, a hard-hit province of the virus, and accompanied over 200 Hubei students back to Beijing on Saturday and took care of them during the journey.
More than 1,000 workers from BIT have made preparation for the returning students in recent days, including cleaning and disinfecting elevators, canteens, dormitories, classrooms and laboratories, and ventilating other public areas. BIT is expected to see more than 200 graduating students back at the university on Saturday.
"I will finally get back to my university and I'm so excited. I missed my university so much," said Geng Baoqun, a PhD student at BIT, coming from north China's Shanxi Province.
"The university has adopted very detailed and considerate epidemic prevention-and-control measures. We also received an 'anti-epidemic package' from the university, which contains medical masks, disinfectants and food. I feel safe and reassured," Geng added.
Xu Haijun, director of the epidemic prevention-and-control office of BUCT, said the university has conducted free nucleic acid tests for all students and taken anti-epidemic measures to ensure students' safety.
Returning students of BUCT were seen at the gate on Saturday to show their health QR code, nucleic acid test reports and had their body temperatures taken, under the guidance of university staff. Face recognition facilities and temperature checking points have also been set up at the entrances of the student dormitories.
Li Peijing, an official at the China Agricultural University (CAU), introduced university plans to welcome back a total of 5,000 graduating students from June 8 to 26. Two other batches, including other postgraduate students and undergraduates, will return to the university in the following months.
"Our university canteens also adopt a meal reservation system, which requires students to book their meals in advance in a bid to avoid gathering. Meanwhile, dining-tables have been marked so that students can keep a safe distance from each other," said Xiao Li, director of the dining center of CAU.
Li Yi, a spokesman of the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, said that it is far more complicated for colleges and universities to resume classes than primary or secondary schools and communities. This is because university students have to attend classes, do experiments and live and eat together.
"Therefore, universities need to strengthen epidemic prevention-and-control measures and implement those measures to make sure students are healthy and safe," Li added.
Nearly 100 colleges and universities in Beijing have carried out epidemic prevention drills in recent days under the supervision of municipal educational departments. Only those who meet the standards are allowed to have their students back and resume classes.