His fear of COVID-19 had been mounting in recent days and Yang suspected he was having a panic attack. Eventually, her son calmed down - he did not have the virus. But almost three months after the outbreak first escalated in China, he has yet to play outdoors in the courtyard of their apartment compound. He attends classes via online video chat. It has been tough for the whole family and they are hopeful that schools will reopen soon, Yang said.
Yang is one of many parents still working remotely, who together care for as many as one million primary- and middle school-aged children who remain at home in Beijing. She ventures out only for groceries. As a caretaker, she is excused from in-office attendance requirements, which Chinese-owned companies began enforcing in early March in an effort to kick the economy back into gear.
Officially, government data shows attendance levels for the capital’s large-scale enterprises have returned to 99.9 percent and traffic jams have returned to the ring roads.