How China brought almost 200 million students back

By: | September 15, 2020

As countries struggle to safely reopen schools, China is harnessing the power of its authoritarian system to offer in-person learning for its vast population of students — including 195 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade at public schools.

On the first day of school in Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged, officials reviewed the students’ travel histories and coronavirus test results. Local Communist Party cadres made sure teachers followed detailed instructions on hygiene and showed an “anti-epidemic spirit.”

The country has adopted many of the same sanitation and distancing procedures used elsewhere, but it has rolled them out with a forceful, command-and-control approach that brooks no dissent. It has mobilized battalions of local officials to inspect classrooms as well as to deploy apps and other technology to monitor students and staff members.

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