The Letter from the Ministry of Education on April 4, 2020, Regarding COVID-19
Dear University Presidents,
To reduce the risk of community infections of COVID-19, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has set up guidelines for “social distancing,” that people may maintain social etiquette, and meanwhile, keep social distancing from others. The CECC specifies that at any gathering, providing attendees keep a safe distance from others, and the university has health monitoring procedures in place, it can make its decision as to whether its members need to wear masks or not.
At gatherings, as long as attendees are healthy, each one keeps a safe distance from others, and the place has good ventilation, they are not required to wear masks. To reduce risk of virus transmission, all attendees must keep a safe distance from others. In case they are unable to do so, they must wear masks.
As for attending a class or a gathering for a special purpose, if faculty member(s) and students sit on their assigned seats, and the university keeps a good record of seat maps, attendees are not required to wear masks. If they are expected to interact or talk with each other at a short distance, they must wear masks.
We would like to request that each university follow the procedures below:
1. The university must strictly implement social distancing. If members are unable to keep at least 1.0 meter from others when outdoors, or 1.5 meters indoors, they must wear masks. Labs and seminar rooms are not open spaces, and people tend to have closer interactions, thus they are required to wear masks.
2. The University must do its best to monitor its members’ health condition and implement necessary health education. Other than taking the temperatures of its members, the university must remind them that if anyone has a fever, difficulty in breathing or loses their sense of smell or taste, they must stay at home, report to the university right away and get medical care.
3. From now till April 30, the university must disinfect its entire campus more often and keep every indoor space well-ventilated. The extra expenses of doing these, no matter whether they involve purchasing new equipment or outsourcing to others, will be reimbursed by the Ministry of Education. We urge you to ask your students to keep their hands clean by washing them often.
4. For the time being, the university can decide how it’s going to change its way of giving instruction, without having to keep the Ministry of Education posted. If the university has no confirmed cases, for at least three days, and wants to sponsor a session to let its members have a better understanding of COVID-19, it must notify the Ministry of Education before doing so. In the session, the university is advised to include “must do” items, and the reasons for them, especially so that students can take care of their own health, while the university discourages its members from unnecessary travel or gatherings.