Medical workers conduct the third round of full-scale nucleic acid testing on November 14, 2021 in a university in Dalian, Northeast China’s Liaoning Province. Photo: CFP
Winter vacation for many colleges in multiple provinces across China this year will start earlier than usual amid recent domestic COVID-19 flare-ups as the new round of resurgences presents characteristics of infection clusters on campus.
Universities in provinces including Henan, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Fujian, Shandong, Shanxi, Hubei have issued notifications to adjust their winter vacations with most starting their vacations one week to two weeks earlier than usual.
The start dates of winter vacations for Chinese colleges vary greatly depending on their location and own agendas. Usually, most colleges start their winter vacations a couple of days ahead of the Chinese New Year’s Day, which will fall on February 1, 2022. And their vacations will usually last one month, with some exceptions, lasting up to two months.
For the coming winter vacation, Zhengzhou Yellow River Nursing Vocational College in particular will start its vacation as early as December 20, 2021.
At the press briefing of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council held on November 13, Wang Dengfeng, director of the physical, health and arts education department of China’s Ministry of Education said that it depends on the epidemic situation and the requirements of the provinces for epidemic prevention and control measures concerning whether colleges and universities will have an early winter holiday.
Wang stressed that the decision should be made independently by the colleges themselves based on the actual situations of different provinces combined with the colleges’ agendas.
Whether colleges should start winter vacations earlier has become a trending topic these days after some colleges were affected by the recent flare-ups.
Since the outbreak in Zhuanghe in the port city Dalian in Northeast China’s Liaoning Province on November 4, over 60 students from a university town in Zhuanghe have been confirmed as infected with COVID-19.
The university town with a total of 14,662 students and 984 school faculties has been placed under quarantine since November 4.
According to Zhao Lian, deputy director of the Health Commission of Dalian, the recent flare-up in the city presents characteristics of infection clusters at workplaces, within families and schools. Besides, the flare-up shows a high viral load of the virus, a rapid transmission and a quick intergeneration transmission. Infections have hidden symptoms that are difficult to detect. There were many asymptomatic infected persons in the early stage.
These characteristics of the local cluster of infections in winter have posed great challenges to the epidemic prevention on campus.
The Chinese Ministry of Education emphasized on November 5 that the epidemic should be strictly prevented from being spread to campuses and clusters of infections should be strictly prevented on campus. Once there are risks of the epidemic on campus, they should be strictly prevented from spreading to the community.
According to Wang, the most recent infections occurred at school and originated from students coming into contact with their cohabitant family members, before further spreading throughout their schools.
Source: Global Times