Thinking caps on: Chinese school kids return to classroom with the help of ‘social distancing hats’ (PHOTOS)
Elementary schoolers in the Chinese megacity of Hangzhou have returned to school, sporting an unusual addition to their regular uniform: a winged cardboard hat reminding them to maintain distance from each other.
The longest ever winter vacation for Hangzhou’s elementary students ended this week, as first to third grades returned to the classroom. One school in the city, Yangzheng Primary School, gave its students an early assignment: fashion their own homemade “one-meter hats,” to remind the youngsters to stay a meter apart at all times.
Photos of the headwear have circulated on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
According to local media, students may only remove the hats during mealtimes. When leaving the classroom, the youngsters have to ‘crab walk’ through the door to avoid clipping their wings.
In addition, students are given face masks every day, and have their temperatures taken upon arrival.
Students at Yangzheng Primary School in Hangzhou wear DIY “one-meter hats” on the first day of the new semester. The headmaster said the initiative aims to help students get accustomed to social distancing amid the #coronavirus pandemic. (Photos courtesy of Zhejiang Daily) pic.twitter.com/PdzYLidHst— Sixth Tone (@SixthTone) April 26, 2020
Winged hats have been mandatory in Hangzhou before, albeit not for a thousand years. When the city – then called Lin’an – was ruled by the Song Dynasty in the 10th century, emperors mandated that officials wear black hats with stiff flaps, to prevent them whispering to one another.
Chinese authorities locked down the province of Zhejiang, including Hangzhou, at the beginning of February. At that point, the province was relatively unaffected by the coronavirus, and the early crackdown has been credited with keeping the pandemic under control in the region. Currently, just over 1,200 cases of the virus have been reported in Zhejiang, compared to 70,000 in Hubei Province – the epicenter of the outbreak.
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