There is still no official word from the Chinese government or Tsinghua University officials about a potential timeline for reopening the university. Spring semester courses have been conducted online, with an overwhelmingly positive response from students and faculty.
The Chinese education ministry is looking ahead to a return of university students to their campuses – although there is no schedule for the reopening of universities in any part of the country.
According to the official government news service Xinhua, the central government "has issued a technical guideline for universities and colleges nationwide to reopen in an orderly manner on the premise that local COVID-19 epidemic is well tamed." The guidelines assert that any reopening of universities would be designed to "minimize risks and ensure the safety and health of students and faculty members."
Citing guidelines released Monday by the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Education, Xinhua said that the central government had given local authorities the power to "make decisions to allow reopening of universities and colleges in a staggered manner on the prerequisite that local epidemic situation is well under control, and universities are well prepared in epidemic prevention and control as well as effective measures are readied to protect the health of faculties and students, according to the guideline."
No dates for possible return were mentioned. But it is clear from the guidelines that life on campuses is likely to be complicated in the transition period.
"No mass gathering activities should be held after classes resume," Xinhua reported, "and staff workers and students are asked to wear face masks in closed venues or crowded places."
The guidelines called university libraries and laboratories to limit the number of students. Campus canteens will be asked to "stagger meals for students and arrange separate dining tables with an interval of 1.5 meters."