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Beijing kids still need to study despite class suspension

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BEIJING — Wu Yiling, a 15-year-old student with a love of hamburgers and Hello Kitty, celebrated when she heard that her school was canceling classes for three days because of air pollution. Finally, she would be able to stay up late watching her favorite Korean soap operas, she imagined, and playing computer games with friends.

北京——15岁的学生吴亦玲(音)喜爱汉堡包和Hello Kitty,当她听说学校因为空气污染停课三天时,非常高兴,以为终于可以熬夜看她喜欢的韩国肥皂剧,和朋友们一起玩电脑游戏了。

Yet at the crack of dawn on Wednesday, Yiling's mother jolted her out of bed.

但是周三清晨,妈妈把她叫起了床。

Her literature teacher had assigned 100 pages of reading, including an intricate Song dynasty poem. Her mother had arranged a tutoring session with a math instructor. An English teacher had announced that there would be a six-part exam on Friday.

语文老师布置了100页的阅读篇目,其中包括一首精巧的宋代诗词。她妈妈安排了一位数学老师来辅导她功课。英语老师宣布本周五会进行测验,题目分为六个部分。

"I quickly learned that there's no such thing as a day off," said Yiling, who attends a high school in eastern Beijing. "Even when we can barely breathe outside, somehow we are supposed to do our schoolwork."

“我很快就明白了,根本不是所谓的放假,”在北京东部上中学的吴亦玲说。“即使我们在外面呼吸困难,我们还是得做作业。”

As smog blanketed this city for a second day on Wednesday, reviving calls for officials to take action, millions of families grappled with the unexpected closing of schools across the city.

本周三是雾霾笼罩这个城市的连续第二天,敦促官员们采取行动的呼声再次高涨,而数百万个家庭正在慌忙应对全市学校的此次意外停课。

Parents searched frantically for day care options. Teachers drew up impromptu lesson plans for use at home. Students who dreamed of leisurely breaks and trips to the mall braced for hours of drills and review sessions instead.

家长们竭力搜索日托服务。教师们制定了在家上课的临时教案。学生们梦想着悠闲地放假和逛商场,结果却只得一连数小时温书复习。

"It's hard to be at home and doing nonstop work," said Zhang Wei, 14, a student at a middle school in central Beijing. "I wish the skies were clear and we could play outside."

“在家里不停地学习很困难的,”北京市中心一所中学的14岁学生张伟(音)说。“我希望天能放晴,这样我们就能去外面玩了。”

In online forums, students bemoaned the amount of work they had to complete over the three-day break.

在网络论坛上,学生们对停课三天中必须完成的作业量发出了哀叹。

"You may never know how badly we will be tortured by the teachers in the three days that we are home," an unidentified student wrote on a widely circulated post on Weibo, a microblogging service. "Kids in Beijing, go cry."

“你们根本不知道我们在家三天受了老师多大的折磨,”一名没有透露身份的学生写的帖子,在微博上广为转发。“北京的孩子们,哭去吧。”

Several parents and students said they were concerned that school closings would become more frequent as the severe air pollution persisted. While Beijing has historically kept its schools open, no matter how poisonous the air, the government this week issued what it called a red alert for the first time, advising schools to close down from Tuesday through Thursday.

几名家长和学生表示,他们担心随着重度空气污染持续下去,学校以后会更加频繁地停课。以前无论空气污染有多严重,北京一直没有停过课。政府本周首次发布的“红色预警”,建议学校从周二停课到周四。

"Smog will be the norm in the future, so what are you going to do about it?" said Zhang Lili, 38, a university instructor in Beijing and the mother of an 8-year-old son. "Are we supposed to suspend classes whenever there is smog? Am I supposed to become a stay-at-home mother?"

“雾霾未来会成为常态,那么你要怎么办呢?”38岁的大学教师张丽丽(音)问道。“每次一有雾霾我们就停课?我要整天待家里管孩子吗?”她有一个8岁的儿子。

As smog levels reached hazardous levels on Wednesday, parents hoarded face masks and bought air purifiers. Some said it was unsustainable to have students studying at home and questioned whether it was an effective safety precaution.

随着上周三雾霾达到危险级别,家长们纷纷囤积口罩,购买空气净化器。有人说,让学生在家里学习不是长久之计,他们对这种安全防范措施的有效性也提出了疑问。

"Schools and homes share the same air pollution problem," said Chen Xiao, 35, a translator who is the father of a 9-year-old boy. "My son can still be hurt by smog."

“学校和家里面对的是同样的空气污染问题,”35岁的翻译陈晓(音)说。“我儿子仍然会受到雾霾的损害。”他的儿子今年9岁。

 

Mr. Chen said the pollution had gotten so bad recently that his family was considering leaving Beijing.

陈晓说,近来污染已经变得如此严重,他的家人正在考虑离开北京。

Chinese parents invest extraordinary amounts of time and money to ensure that their children succeed academically, and many said they worried their children might fall behind if they were kept out of school too long.

中国父母投入了非常多的时间和金钱来确保孩子取得学业上的成功。很多人表示,他们担心孩子如果待在家中时间太长,成绩可能就会落后。

School closings in Beijing are rare, given the city's dry climate and lack of snow. An exception was the outbreak of the SARS respiratory virus in 2003, when the city suspended classes for several weeks.

鉴于北京气候干燥,降雪稀少,学校停课的情况很少出现。此前有过一次例外,2003年爆发SARS疫情时,全市停过几周的课。

In issuing the red alert this week, Beijing officials told parents that while classes were suspended, students should continue studying. They encouraged parents to use the time to teach their children "life and safety" lessons. The government also unveiled a database of 5,000 lecture videos, covering topics like Chinese history and biology, on a state-run digital education platform.

本周发布红色预警时,北京的官员告诉家长,虽然学校停课,但学生们应该继续学习。他们鼓励家长利用这段时间,在家对孩子进行生活和安全教育。政府还在一个国家经营的数字教育平台上,发布了5000则教学视频,内容涉及中国历史、生物等。

Private tutoring companies, a booming industry in China, seized on the disruption caused by the smog to make a pitch for their products. Some offered extra tutoring sessions to help prepare for college exams. Others advertised online courses, saying that parents could return to work with peace of mind while their children studied at home.

私营家教公司在中国是一个蓬勃发展的产业,这些公司利用雾霾导致停课的机会推广自己的服务。一些公司提供了额外的辅导课程,帮助学生准备高考。其他公司则极力推广网络课程,称家长可以放心地回到工作岗位,让孩子留在家中学习。

At Beijing Jingshan School, a prestigious public school, teachers led online classes for students in subjects like math and Chinese. One class on Wednesday focused on the history of air pollution in China, making the argument that it was present even in ancient times, when fog and dust storms were common in Beijing.

在著名的公立学校北京景山学校,老师引导学生们通过网络课程学习数学、语文等科目。周三有一堂课主要教授中国的空气污染史,课程中阐述道,即使在古代,雾和沙尘暴在北京就很常见。

At some of Beijing's most competitive schools, parents were asked to provide pictures of their children completing school assignments as proof that they were still studying. They happily complied, flooding online forums with snapshots of their children seated at desks and next to calculators.

北京最具竞争力的一些学校,要求家长们提供学生完成学校作业时的照片,以此证明他们仍在学习。他们高兴地遵守要求,纷纷在网上论坛里发布自己的孩子坐在桌旁,身旁放着计算器的照片。

He Mei, 40, a housewife in Beijing, said her daughter, He Xiang, 8, could have a healthier lifestyle by studying at home, taking more breaks and eating more fruit.

今年40岁的何梅(音)是北京的一名家庭主妇。她说自己8岁的女儿何湘(音)在家学习时,可以享有更健康的生活方式,可以有更多休息时间,吃更多水果。

"Beijing is dirty and dry," Ms. He said. "Staying at home is good for her health."

“北京又脏又干,”何梅说。“在家待着对她的健康有好处。”

Her daughter disagreed. "I don't like the smog," she said. "I want to go outside and play with my classmates."

她的女儿并不这么认为。“我不喜欢雾霾,”她说。“我想出去跟同学们玩。”

When Ma Chenlei, 44, an engineer, and Wang Yanhui, 46, a salesman, first heard that the pollution in Beijing would reach hazardous levels this week, they decided to stay home with their two children until classes resumed. They have alternated study time with play breaks and occasional walks around the block, to make up for missed exercise classes.

当44岁的工程师马晨蕾(音)和46岁的销售员王岩辉(音)最初听说北京的污染本周会达到有害水平时,他们决定在家陪着两个孩子,直到学校重新开课。他们将学习与休息结合起来,还偶尔带孩子绕着街区散步,以弥补停掉的体育课。

"I don't like it, I cough a lot," said their 7-year-old daughter, Yifan. "When I wear a mask, I feel a little suffocated."

“我不喜欢雾霾,一直咳嗽,”他们7岁的女儿王易凡(音)说。“戴上口罩感觉有点憋气。”

Inside the family's apartment on Wednesday, Yifan showed off her completed math and English homework, which she had sent to her teachers, while her 3-year-old brother, Yichen, played with racecars.

周三,王易凡在家中展示了她完成的数学和英语作业,她已经将作业发给了老师,而她三岁的弟弟王易辰在玩赛车。

Ms. Ma said her daughter's school was planning to install air filters next year. In the meantime, she said, there was nothing they could do to alleviate the pollution.

马晨蕾表示,她女儿所在的学校计划明年安装空气净化器。与此同时,她表示,他们没有能力做些什么来减轻污染。

"We hope that every day the air is clean," she said. "But it will take much longer than one or two days to solve this problem."

“我们希望空气每天都是干净的,”她说。“但这不是一两天就能解决的问题。”

2016-06-23

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