Chinese Students Exempt from Track and Field Exam Because of Covid

Chinese Province Cancels Track and Field Exam Because of Covid

On the heels of China’s largest Covid-19 outbreak, cities in Southwest China’s Guizhou province have announced that they will remove track and field from middle school PE exams

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Hayley Zhao
12:14 PM HKT, Tue February 14, 2023 1 mins read

This winter, China saw its most significant wave of Covid-19 cases following the country’s easing of strict pandemic restrictions. Cases of inflammatory cardiomyopathy, a viral inflammation of the heart that could result in death if untreated, have been reported nationwide by some of those who contracted Covid. The initial symptoms include chest pain, shortness of breath, and abnormal heartbeat.

Even though cases are sporadic, health professionals are still warning against hardcore exercise while recovering from Covid.

Therefore, many Chinese citizens have shared on social media about postponing their workout plans to allow their bodies to heal.

However, this is easier said than done for many Chinese middle school students.

This might come as a surprise to many living outside China, but physical education (PE) is a mandatory subject in their high school entrance exam or Zhongkao (中考), which literally means ‘Middle Exam.’

PE examinations vary from city to city, and students are scored on different skills. Students sometimes have the choice of being tested in sports like soccer, basketball, and volleyball or conditioning exercises like sit-ups.

However, one consistent testing area in most cities is track and field; female and male students must run 800 meters and 1,000 meters, respectively.

Some students spend their entire ninth-grade training and preparing for their PE exam. Even though it only makes up a small part of their entrance exam, many don’t want to lose points in China’s highly competitive education system. ‘Every point counts’ is the mindset most students and their parents share.

physical education in China, Covid-19, Covid-19 in China

Students running track as part of the PE segment of their high school entrance exam in Jiangsu province in 2019. Image via VCG

In light of the high number of Covid-19 cases in China, many concerned parents have complained about their unwell or recently recovered children being disadvantaged in the Zhongkao.

Fortunately, their voices have been heard by local education authorities in one Chinese province.

Multiple cities in Southwest China’s Guizhou province have announced that they will remove track and field from high school entrance PE exams. Furthermore, middle schools have also been advised to avoid high-intensity activities during regular fitness classes.

In fact, education departments throughout China have been evaluating the situation and made announcements about adjusting their PE curriculum to ensure the safety of students as the new spring semester starts.

Netizens have praised local authorities for prioritizing the well-being of young students, calling the adjustments the “right and humane move” on Weibo, China’s top microblogging platform. Many have also pointed out that the move should be replicated at the college level.

Cover image via VCG

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