On May 13, the Ministry of Education and the National Health Commission (NHC) held a video conference to explore measures to strengthen COVID-19 prevention and control work in schools and child care institutions that have reopened, and to ensure the safe re-opening of all other educational institutions in the coming weeks. Minister of education Chen Baosheng and NHC deputy director Li Bin attended the meeting and both delivered speeches.
Chen noted that the decision to reopen all schools marked China’s decisive victory in the fight against COVID-19, following months of nationwide effort. He cautioned that as more schools were reopened, prevention and control measures and requirements instituted during the height of the coronavirus pandemic should be made part of a new normal, instead of being relaxed. To ensure the safety of students and teachers he announced that schools would be required to implement effective early-warning, emergency response, access control and movement monitoring policies, and focus management of resources to high-risk areas, groups and activities on campuses. He emphasized the importance of establishing an accountability system and strict prevention routines to keep campuses safe from COVID-19.
Li Bin highlighted the need for schools to seek synergy with other institutions in the government-led joint prevention campaign, and to establish a leading group responsible for coordination and pandemic prevention purposes. He also noted the importance of developing emergency response plans, in addition to programs to promote better health and hygiene practices, with a view to mitigating risk of infection.