After returning to Shanghai at the end of March (a week before the borders closed to foreigners), I spent two weeks in a hotel being quarantined. Truth be told it wasn’t that bad and I felt lucky to have had the privilege of mandatory quarantine given the state of the world right now. Life has slowly transitioned back to a new “normal” in Shanghai with the opening of Kindergartens at the beginning of June. Other grades had resumed prior and they slowly phased in lower grades. So what does life in Shanghai look like now? When I look at the rest of the world, I know I’m one of the lucky ones who has returned to work and able to go out and about.
I have been hesitant to write a post about this with the fear I could jinx something and the city would shut down. 2020 has done some strange things to people and altered the way we think and go about our lives. China has still kept its borders closed to foreign citizens (unless you are a diplomat or have very rare clearance to return). There is no telling when borders will open again. China has done a remarkable job managing the virus and I don’t blame them for wanting to keep their borders closed. After the peak and Chinese New Year, the only cases being brought into the city were from international flights so it makes sense to shut that down. I don’t foresee China opening its borders until the world has a better handle on the virus and political relationships are mended.
1. So what is life in China like now? Yes people are still wearing masks, but it isn’t mandatory everywhere like before. It is required on the metro.
2. When you enter most restaurants there is usually a temperature check they do on you. Some ask for you to show your QR code to show that it’s green. When I first arrived in China, my QR code was red and became green after I did my 2 weeks of quarantine. A green code means you haven’t been in contact recently with someone whose been diagnosed with the virus and you don’t have the virus. China has remarkable tracking capacities.
3. So what does it look like in schools? After teaching online classes March-April, the kindergartens got the clear to open in June. The kids have their temperature checked by infrared and also by thermometer every day when they arrive at school. Their parents fill out information daily about the family members temperatures and any new travel history. The kids aren’t required to wear masks in schools. As teachers, we wear a mask that is clear and is more like what I would consider a food guard style. That way the kids can still see our faces. Two months of this and it has faded and we don’t wear masks all the time.
4. Yes there was social distancing, but I truly believe that China has this under control. My gym has been open since April. It started with limited people being allowed at a time with constant cleaning and then slowly that eased up. The “outbreak” in Beijing was quickly handled and they had hundreds of thousands (if not millions) tested within the week from the incident. Because China is not letting foreigners into the country, the numbers are remaining stable.
I have no idea how America is going to handle opening schools. Shanghai was cautious to open schools and did so in waves starting with the oldest grades. At first my school had no after school classes so classes wouldn’t mix and had protocols were out in place if any showed sign of even a fever. My amazing class is graduating today and I am off to celebrate with them!
Just my latest thoughts 🙂