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Chinese students rush home after the blockade

As Shanghai gradually lifted the blockade, students rushed home for fear of being trapped in dormitories again.

Wearing a blue protective suit and tight-fitting N95 mask, Huang Yi left the university campus at 5:56 a.m. on May 21, the first time in 76 days. Finally, Huang was able to leave Shanghai and go home to Shaanxi.

“Everything is so strange,” said the sophomore at Shanghai Normal University, describing the deserted streets from the school to Hongqiao train station.

Huang is one of the students who have left the city in recent days. Universities in Shanghai are encouraging and organizing students to return home, as the city gradually lifts the blockade that has lasted for more than 50 days.

Most of Shanghai’s 25 million people had to stay home from April 1. However, some apartment complexes and most universities were locked down early from mid-March after detecting cases of Covid-19.

“It’s exhausting just hanging around studying online, eating and sleeping,” Huang said, even saying do not bathe often.

Passengers wait to board a train at Hongqiao Station, Shanghai, on May 23.  Photo: He

Passengers wait to board a train at Hongqiao Station, Shanghai, on May 23. Image: He

A few universities have now issued guidelines, allowing students to leave as long as the buildings they live in have had no Covid-19 cases in the past 14 days.

A screenshot confirms the official announcement listing 52 major cities as key destinations and an enhanced rail network to support students returning home. The photo is now widely popular among students.

In response, some cities have announced free centralized isolation for returning students. On May 23, Chengdu city in Sichuan province became the latest locality to offer free accommodation during the quarantine period for students.

Wang Ying, a graduate student majoring in journalism and communication at Shanghai University, booked train tickets and applied for a school permit as soon as he was informed of the policy on May 19.

Wang will be leaving for Shandong today. Before that, Wang was busy packing, preparing for the journey, as well as liaising with the local to ensure there were no problems when returning.

“When you see someone swapping instant noodles in the WeChat group, you know you’re not living a normal life. I know my current life needs to change, even though I’m used to it,” Wang said. To share.

The female media student said that nearly three months of living in the blockade made her exhausted.

But not everyone can plan trips home smoothly. Many students had to change their plans to leave Shanghai because the isolation fee was too high in their home country, which they had to pay on their own.

While others delayed due to inconsistent and ambiguous local policies for returnees. They fear the situation in Shanghai could change in an instant and fear being trapped in the dorms again.

He Qiqi, a graduate student at Fudan University, left for Guangzhou on May 23. He registered for a seven-day quarantine in a government-run isolation ward in her hometown of Huaizhou. But the bus that was supposed to pick her up did not arrive at the train station. In the end, He was asked to stay at a hotel in Guangzhou until he was picked up.

“Things were messy on the platform,” He said, adding that authorities in her hometown didn’t know about her return until she received a phone call.

While students are leaving en masse and others are planning to return home after months of lockdown, some are determined to stay in Shanghai because they need to finish their studies, wait for a job interview, or start. go to work after graduating in June.

Shen Lingyi, a senior at Shanghai University, found a job after applying for 150 places. So, she decided not to return.

“I feel fine staying here,” Shen said. “But I fear my college life might end in silence without any celebration.”

As for Wang, she said she was ready to leave Shanghai, although still not mentally prepared to part with the city that was once her second home.

“I wish I could have a meal with my mentor before I leave because she has helped me a lot over the years,” Wang said. “But no matter what, I told her that I will definitely come back in the future.”

Dawn (Follow Sixth Tone)

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