Safe School Return campaign in practice
How students, parents and teachers at Yixing school and Zhongzhou kindergarten are ensuring a safe and smooth return to school
Children in China are gradually returning to school following the COVID-19 outbreak. Timetables vary across provinces and school grades, based on local disease control and prevention measures. Children are going back to school after an unexpected time of isolation and different routines. When they go back to school things may feel unusual because of the necessary measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. All of us – children of all ages, parents and teachers – have a role to play in making the return to school healthy, safe and smooth.
UNICEF, China's Ministry of Education and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention launched the Safe School Return campaign to help make the return to school safe, healthy and happy. Key information and tips to support students, teachers and parents have been distributed in video and poster format to schools across the country. UNICEF and the Ministry of Education are aiming to reach all kindergarten, primary and secondary schools (including teaching sites) across China – that’s around 614,000 schools and kindergartens.
Yixing School in Zhong County, Chongqing, has reopened after weeks of online learning. To make the return to school healthy and safe for more than 940 students, the school has focused on communicating with students and parents. This included sending an explanatory letter to parents, carrying out a questionnaire, creating a back-to-school checklist, and sharing the school’s plan for reopening, as well as a contingency plan for managing suspected cases of COVID-19. The school has also implemented preventive measures, including body temperature checks, monitoring for symptoms, maintaining good hygiene practices, disinfecting the campus and student dormitories regularly, as well as providing counseling.
The school is using the posters and videos produced by the Safe School Return campaign to raise awareness among students, teachers and parents about how they can prevent the spread of the virus, and how they can support and care for each other in this extraordinary time.
“The posters and videos produced by UNICEF, the Ministry of Education and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention are a great help to our school. We put up the posters in conspicuous places around the campus so that teachers and students can easily learn about how to prevent the epidemic.”
Students also find the materials helpful.
“I didn't know before (I saw the poster) that I could communicate with classmates and teachers. We definitely experienced a burden and worried about the epidemic when we had to stay at home for so long. We can actually talk to teachers and let them know all our worries. They can help us.”
Zhongzhou Kindergarten in Zhong County reopened to children recently. To ensure children return to the kindergarten safely, Zhongzhou Kindergarten is also implementing a series of measures, including body temperature checks and using hand sanitizer when entering the kindergarten, monitoring for symptoms, advocating for washing hands with soap frequently, as well as disinfecting classrooms and dormitories regularly. In addition, many outdoor activities are organized daily to keep children healthy and happy in the kindergarten.