BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The timetable for beginning the new semester and resuming classes in universities should be based on the local epidemic situation and the composition of students, Wang Dengfeng, an official with the Ministry of Education, said Tuesday.
Noting that the ministry has set no unified requirements on resuming classes for universities, Wang, who is also an office director of the ministry's leading group on the COVID-19 response, said at a press conference that universities across the country should follow differentiated schedules.
Wang said graduating students and post-graduates with research tasks should be given priority in resuming classes, noting colleges comprising of mostly local students will resume classes earlier, while colleges in high-risk areas should postpone the resumption of classes.
He emphasized the importance of sticking to three principles, namely no resuming of classes before the epidemic situation is basically under control, no resuming of classes before the universities' prevention and control measures are in place, and no resuming of classes unless the safety of teachers and students can be guaranteed.
Universities will gradually resume classes in Qinghai Province, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Shanxi Province and Jiangsu Province in April, according to Wang.
International students who are unable to return to school for the moment will be given access to online classes and updates on the schedule to return, the official added.
The ministry also required efforts in making emergency response plans in every university due to the large-scale cross-region population mobility caused by university students returning to school, Wang said, adding that every provincial-level region should also draw up emergency response plans for the beginning of the new university semester. Enditem