Beijing to reopen schools closed by SARS 

Beijing will start reopening schools this week after a one-month closure due to the SARS outbreak, newspapers said on Sunday.

They said primary and secondary schools with 1.37 million students would start going back to class on Thursday. China's capital is the city hardest hit by SARS in the world with 145 deaths and more than 2,400 cases

High school students due to graduate in July would be the first to return, the Beijing Star Daily said.

They would be followed by younger students at suburban schools, where the possibility of exposure to the flu-like SARS virus is lower than in the city itself, it added.

By July 14, all primary and secondary schools would be reopened so students could sit for end-of-year examinations, it said.

The summer vacation would begin on July 25 instead of the scheduled July 11, it added.

The government ordered a two-week suspension of Beijing schools on April 22 to stem the spread of the deadly virus after admitting covering up the extent of the outbreak and ordering honest reporting of cases.

In May, it extended the shutdown by another two weeks saying Beijing, with a population of 14 million, had entered the peak period of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome infections.

Teachers and school officials were required to stay on to give students "sky classes" + by television, radio or Internet.

On Saturday, China reported 28 new cases, the lowest since April 20, with 19 of them in Beijing.

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Submit by CEIN  News on 20.05.2003