Beijing — Chinese youngsters in the global coronavirus epicenter of Wuhan filed back to class on Wednesday, wearing masks and walking in single file past thermal scanners. Senior school students in 121 institutions were back in front of chalk boards and digital displays for the first time since their city — the ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic — shut down in January.
“School is finally reopening!” posted one user of Weibo, China’s Twitter-like short messaging platform. “This is the first time that I’m so happy to go back to school, although I have to sit a monthly examination on the 8th.”
Teenagers sat at individual desks spaced a 3.3 feet apart, seeing their teachers in the flesh after months of distance learning.
Wednesday’s back-to-school was the latest step in a gradual normalizing of life in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province.
In preparation for reopening, some schools spaced out their desks and organized smaller class sizes, according to local media.
Thermal scanners greeted everyone walking through school gates, and anyone with a high temperature was not allowed in.
State-run China Daily said some places arranged staggered arrival times for teachers and students.
Armed police officers were seen standing guard at the entrance of Wuhan No.17 Middle School, with officers also pictured outside other schools around the province.