BEIJING, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- China's Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that the 2020 spring semester for schools will be postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The MOE did not give the exact opening dates of the new semester for colleges and universities under the ministry but indicated that the decisions should be made depending on their localities, according to a circular released by the ministry late Monday.
The MOE suggested that colleges and universities under the central government's other ministries or departments also postpone school semester accordingly.
The new semester opening dates for universities and colleges under local authorities' administration, middle and primary schools, as well as kindergartens, should be decided by local education authorities.
The ministry warned that students who had left campuses for the Spring Festival holiday should not return without approval before the new semester.
All schools should guide students to stay at home, avoid gatherings and mass activities during the winter break, the ministry said, asking schools to keep those students who stay on campus away from infections.
The ministry also urged schools to draw up epidemic prevention and control plans and overhaul campuses to prepare for the new semester.
In China, most schools have two breaks in a year. The winter break, roughly one month, usually comes around the time of the Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year, allowing students to return home for this most important festival for the Chinese.
To control the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese government had extended the seven-day Spring Festival holiday, scheduled to end on Jan. 30, to Feb. 2.