Beijing's middle schools, primary schools and kindergartens will close as of Thursday for a period of two weeks for the May Day holidays, according to a circular issued by the local education authorities.
The decision has been made to safeguard the health of 1.7 million students amid mounting efforts to stem the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) virus, the Beijing Municipal Education Commission said in the circular.
Mid-term examinations in those schools will be postponed, said the commission.
Boarding schools with no SARS cases may continue classes but must not receive visitors from outside. Students leaving school due to illness should undergo more than 10 days of quarantine before returning to school.
Teachers and other school employees should remain in their posts to monitor students' health and to guide students in their studies via the telephone and the Internet. Schools should report any suspected SARS case on a daily basis to the education authorities.
As for students whose parents ask them to stay in school, the schools are responsible for their studies and their lives, said the commission.
Entrance examinations for junior high schools and senior high schools will be postponed pending further notice.
(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2003)