by Chunchen Xiao and Yi Li
Covid-19 broke out in China at the beginning of 2020. Initially, the novel coronavirus spread at an incredibly high speed, and strict measures for epidemic control followed in the Chinese mainland. In this initial phase, many people were caught off-guard because they were away from home or work due to the Spring Festival holiday. In order to deal with the alarming increase of cases, the Government introduced lockdowns and restrictions on travel that seemed necessary, but that also led to great challenges for the Chinese people. In this essay, we focus on the challenges that students and teachers faced. Campuses and schools were closed due to the lockdowns so that both teachers and students had to adapt to learning and teaching online. Battling with the urgent tasks of containing the epidemic was the priority as February passed into March. The reopening of the schools was nowhere in sight. What is more, the college entrance examination, considered to be a turning point in the destiny of young Chinese men and women, was postponed for a month. Which aspects of education in China were affected by the Covid-19 and what were the different scales at which such problems manifested themselves? We compare the effect of Covid-19 on students to the earlier experience of SARS in 2013. Finally, we aim to make available the concerns of Chinese scholars with regard to the education sector as a whole under the pressure of epidemics, hoping that we can learn from our present so as to make sufficient preparations for the future.