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A letter to foreign teachers and students in Guangzhou


Dear foreign teachers and students in Guangzhou,

On this occasion of celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year, the Guangzhou Municipal Education Bureau would like to extend our sincere greetings and thank you for choosing Guangzhou for your work or study.

You most likely knew about the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). In coordination with the unified efforts of the Chinese central government, the Guangdong Provincial People’s Government and the Guangzhou Municipal People’s Government have been taking active measures to prevent the novel coronavirus outbreak. This included the Guangdong Provincial People’s Government activating a Level-I public health emergency response on January 23, 2020.

Following the guidance of our higher authorities, the Guangzhou Municipal Education Bureau is mobilizing all schools and teaching institutions to step up epidemic prevention and control efforts which will in a determined manner curb and prevent the spread of the virus. These steps will help ensure the health and safety of our students and faculty members which is foremost.

To best help prevent the outbreak as soon as possible and to safeguard public safety, we hereby propose the following five initiatives for our foreign teachers and foreign students living in Guangzhou.

1. Be Well Informed

Following unified guidelines of the Guangdong Provincial People’s Government, all primary schools, secondary schools and kindergartens in Guangzhou currently will NOT open for the new semester BEFORE February 17. All institutions of higher education and secondary vocational schools will NOT open for the new semester BEFORE February 24. Please note that these dates are tentative and subject to change based upon conditions and sound decisions made after conducting comprehensive scientific research. Possible changes in these opening dates will be publicized by the Guangzhou Municipal Education Bureau through news releases on its official website or WeChat public account.

Please keep a close eye on these official information releases and do not trust false and unverified information. Please also know that alternatively your work units or schools will publicize the news of rescheduled opening dates for you to make corresponding arrangements when informed.

2. Strengthen Prevention and Self-Protection

Please maintain good hygiene by washing your hands often with soap or an alcohol-based sanitizer. Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue or your flexed elbow. Refrain from spitting and wear a medical protective mask when exposed outdoors. Dispose of used masks appropriately and keep rooms clean and well ventilated. Avoid close contact with wild animals or birds and reduce eating uncooked or cold foods. Eggs and meat must be thoroughly cooked before consumption.

3. Minimize Outdoor Activities

Please avoid crowded places, parties and group activities. Correctly wear a mask which is preferably a surgical mask if you need to attend an activity. Try to avoid close contact with others in a confined space. If you have mild to severe respiratory symptoms of fever, cough, breathing difficulty or fatigue, please immediately report the case to your work unit or school and go to a designated hospital wearing a mask.

4. Be Cooperative

Please comply with disinfection and ventilation requirements established by your work units for teaching, office and dormitory areas. Cooperate with entry and exit access controls and temperature monitoring within the campus when the new semester begins. Follow professional guidelines and suggestions proposed by disease control and prevention agencies or experts.

To ensure the health and safety of all students and faculty members, you are strongly advised to return to Guangzhou during an off-peak time and stay in your residence until further notice about the rescheduled opening date released by your work unit. Should you encounter any issues related to your work permit, work visa or student visa, please contact the relevant departments within your school responsible for overseas students and the management of foreign teachers. The Guangzhou Municipal Education Bureau will work closely with other authorities, such as foreign affairs, foreign expert affairs and immigration, to provide you with any necessary assistance.

5. Join Our Mass Prevention and Control Efforts

If you have been to the Hubei Province or any other infected areas before returning to Guangzhou, please report to your school or community to arrange a health check-up. Please follow all health guidelines and only attend any outdoor activities after enforcing a self-quarantine for fourteen days. Please cooperate with government or community personnel or medical staff if they inquire about your condition.

Dearest friends, you will certainly encounter inconveniences for your work and life during this special time of challenge. We sincerely ask for your forgiveness and understanding. We firmly believe our concerted efforts will help us soon win this fight against the novel coronavirus. We look forward to again celebrating great times together in the beautiful city of Guangzhou which we all love.

We wish you happiness, good health and the greatest of success for 2020.

Appendix:Novel Coronavirus Advice for Expats in Guangzhou

Guangzhou Municipal Education Bureau

February 6, 2020


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