Screening measures guarantee safety of university students
Although Shanghai has lowered its emergency response to the novel coronavirus epidemic from the second level to the third, the education sector is still taking strict measures to ensure the safety and health of students and faculties.
At the faculty center of East China Normal University, now a designated quarantine hotel, 102 teachers and students from Hubei Province had their samples taken for nucleic acid and antibody tests over the weekend.
“These include 86 students who returned in the past two days and are serving quarantine here, and 16 teachers and students who returned earlier and have undergone 14 days of quarantine, but had not taken tests,” said Zhao Linhua, a teacher from the university’s student affairs office.
According to the university, only graduating students and others who need to do research on campus can return.
They need to submit applications at least three days before they arrive, explaining the reason for their return, detailing their itinerary and showing their green health codes. Those from Hubei need to undergo 14 days quarantine at the faculty center and pass nucleic acid and antibody tests.
“Usually, people have to go to a medical institution for nucleic acid testing, but we have a large number of teachers and students waiting for the test here,” said Jiang Xuesheng, a doctor from the university hospital.
“If we take them to the medical institution, it will take a long time as we have to limit the number of people in each vehicle to reduce the risk of cross infection.”
The university reported the situation to the health commission and center for disease control in Minhang District. Nine doctors from the nearby Wujing Town community service center were authorized to go to the hotel and take samples for tests on site.
On Saturday morning, Shanghai Daily saw that each half hour, nine to 11 students went to the ground floor of the hotel to register at a desk before going to one of three tents to have samples taken.
In each tent, there were three doctors in full protective gear – one was responsible for taking nose and throat swabs, one for drawing blood and one helping the others change protective outfits and latex gloves after each student.
“We have to do this to make sure we are virus-free when contacting each of them,” said Huang Yi, one doctor who took nose and throat swabs.
He said the results are available in 24 to 72 hours.
Yu Zongliang, a masters student majoring in ecology, said he came back to Shanghai from Xiaogan City of Hubei as he will graduate in June and needed to participate in an oral defense for his dissertation.
“I think both the quarantine and tests are necessary as there are asymptomatic carriers,” he said. “They are responsible measures for both ourselves and the whole society.”
Zhong Yaling, a first-year masters student majoring in chemistry, came back from Huangshi of Hubei to continue her research.
“I think the measures can ensure my safety as well as other people," she said. "Our university has made all the things easier for us, including providing the quarantine support and arranging the tests here. I hope I can go on with my research soon so that my future studies will go smoothly.”
More students will return next week.
Other universities in Shanghai are also welcoming back students.
At East China University of Science and Technology, about 1,000 students returned this week.
Teachers have been in contact with students and their parents during the pandemic, and their applications for return, with detailed information of their health conditions and itineraries, were submitted three to five days before their arrival.
The university also arranged vehicles to pick up students from key affected areas from railway stations and directly sent them to quarantine sites.
Other students had their identities and temperatures checked at the campus gates, and must report their temperatures twice a day when living on campus. The university has given out masks, thermometers and soap, and their dorms have all been disinfected and equipped with infrared scanners and hand sanitizers.
Packed meals are offered at canteens and each student must go to a designated canteen according to the location of their dorm. In the first two weeks after their return, they will not be able to eat at the canteens, but have to take food back to dorms.
“I’m glad to be back after four months of absence and to be warmly greeted by my teachers,” said Lu Xinhan, a major of chemistry. “The university has introduced strict prevention measures and considerate arrangements for us. I think we need to cooperate with the university to make it a safe place for all.”
Tongji University also welcomed back its first batch of students over the weekend.
A special channel was set up at the gate of its campus on Siping Road with welcoming words.
Each student needed to show a code distributed by an intelligent system developed by the university’s Shanghai Research Institute for Intelligent Autonomous Systems to manage their return.
With geographic information, big data and cloud computing technologies, the system analyzes pandemic data around the country and collect students’ personal information, such as daily health conditions, locations and itineraries, to work out return plans for about 40,000 students of the university.
After they passed temperature screening, the university faculty triggered permission for entry to their campus cards. Staff disinfect their hands and luggage.
Each student was given a package which contained 10 masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, alcohol cleaning cotton towels, soap and a guidebook for self-protection against COVID-19 published by the university press.
They had to swipe their campus cards and have their temperatures checked to enter dormitory buildings, where their luggage was disinfected again.
A row of taps has been installed in front of the canteen, where students have to wash their hands before dining. There are boards on the tables to separate diners. The canteen has also extended service time to enable students to avoid peak hours and reduce congestion.
The library is open but reservations are required.