With the May Day holiday approaching, education regulators of at least 10 cities in three provinces have asked students and teachers not to leave their own cities to travel during the holiday.
Education authorities of Huaibei in East China's Anhui Province released a notice on Sunday, saying that students and teachers are not permitted to travel to other cities and must avoid contact with people from the COVID-19 hard-hit regions and overseas returnees, and especially avoid gatherings.
The announcement was made after Xuancheng, another city in the province, made a similar decision to guarantee the epidemic does not spread. The city stipulated that those facing special circumstances who have to leave the city must report their journeys in advance, and can only return to schools after testing and isolation with certificates.
Central China's Henan Province has applied a wider range of restrictions in six cities over the holiday period.
Students and faculty in schools in Xuchang were asked to sign a letter of commitment promising not to move across regions. Students and teachers in Jiaozuo were also banned from leaving the city by principle.
The city of Zhoukou has banned all faculty and students from traveling and dining out in groups, and schools that have resumed classes will not have holidays.
Some analysts said although the rules vary from place to place, it is clear that in general, students and teachers are not encouraged to travel during the holiday.
The moves are only for the sake of students' health and safety, Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow at the National Institute of Education Sciences, told the Global Times on Tuesday. He noted that both Anhui and Henan have a long border with the hard-hit Hubei Province, which still has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The two provinces have the largest education populations in China and all kinds of schools at all levels will resume after the holiday. Therefore, asking both teachers and students to stay at home and avoid cross-regional travel is understandable, he said, noting that policies must be made in accordance with the local conditions.
Moreover, some cities have cancelled the holiday for students as school has just been resumed. Hangzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province said cancellation of the holiday is a way to ensure enough time for school teaching.
On April 23, the education authority of Ma'anshan in Anhui announced that the holiday was cancelled, as some students will return to school on Sunday, and many had come from all over the province. Cancelling the holiday could also reduce the risk of infection while taking public transportation.
Henan and Anhui had zero cases as of Sunday while Zhejiang has 10 imported cases recorded.