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Wicked Weather Hits South China
Special> Wicked Weather Hits South China
UPDATED: January 21, 2011 Web Exclusive
Pengshui Pulls Through
A small county in Chongqing Municipality weathers the storm

In Pengshui County, located in Chongqing Municipality, children fight off cold weather on their way to school (LIU ZHAN) 

"Usually, my phone battery lasts for at least four days on one charge. But on January 3, my battery died unexpectedly," said Jiang Daisheng, a teacher at the Puzi Middle School in Chongqing Municipality's Pengshui County.

Jiang was recalling the morning when teachers and school officials rushed to send text messages and phone calls to their students to warn them of a sudden class suspension. On the night of January 1, heavy snows hit the county and paralyzed traffic. The weather continued to worsen; on January 3, The Pengshui County Education Department sent notice to the area's schools to suspend their classes.

Puzi Middle School and 119 other schools in the county suspended their classes for January 4. Jiang called 54 of his students to inform them of the suspension; for those students without home telephones, the teacher tried his best to inform their local village offices, in the hope that the offices would find a way to contact the students. Thanks to the advance notice given by Jiang and other teachers, none of the students showed up to class by mistake on January 4.

The following day, the weather took a turn for the better, and Puzi Middle School resumed classes. However, some students soon found that getting to school might not be an easy task. Wang Feifei, a student in Jiang's class, typically spends two hours on the bus in the morning on the way to school. But on the morning of January 5, the buses that usually go to Wang's village had not yet resumed normal operations.

Wang and his classmates weren't completely out of luck just yet, however. Wang and 39 other students got a special treat that day when a small convoy of local officials trekked into the mountains to help the students get to school on time. The mountain roads were slippery, but eventually the convoy made it out of the mountains and ended up in a neighboring area free of ice, where teachers from Puzi Middle School were waiting to take them to class.

The cold weather that hit Chongqing might've frozen the roads, but it didn't freeze the ambitions of the area's students. Over 2,000 students voluntarily gave up their weekend and came into class on January 8 and 9, hoping to make up time lost as a result of the previous class suspensions.

The Chongqing Municipality Education Department stepped up to the plate as well, helping to reschedule classes and exams, and ensuring that students that chose to go to school could do so safely. Schools in the area loaded their students up with hot meals and tea when they couldn't return home immediately because of the bad weather.

(Source: People's Daily, translated by ZHONG MING)

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