With COVID-19 protocols downgraded, universities in Shanghai are gradually making their campuses more accessible to the public.
Previously, only students, faculty and a small number of invited guests were permitted on school campuses due to stringent COVID prevention measures.
Starting from Friday, visitors who are neither faculty nor students can enter the Xuhui and Fengxian district campuses of the East China University of Science and Technology by scanning their identification cards.
The university, however, has advised visitors not to bring pets.
Taxis and delivery people are still not allowed inside.
"It's really exciting to hear about it," said Lena Ling, a woman who lives and works near the university.
"The university has a lot of green spaces and sports facilities. Before the pandemic, my husband and I would take our son there on weekends for a walk. It was enjoyable to watch children play on the lawns or the playground. If the weather permits, we might go there tomorrow."
Other universities have welcomed alumni, as well as relatives and friends of students and faculty.
Tongji University and East China Normal University have both sent out invitations to alumni to update their identities on alumni service platforms in order to obtain digital alumni cards and return to their campuses to enjoy the spring scenery.
When visiting Tongji, verified alumni should show their digital alumni cards along with their ID cards. Each can bring four guests, who must also show their ID cards on entry.
"My husband was a Tongji student, and we used to go back every year to enjoy the university's cherry blossoms in spring," Guo Na explained. "I'm overjoyed that we can do it again. And this time, we'll be able to bring our son."
Verified alumni can enter East China Normal University with their ID cards without filling out an entry application. They can also use the digital alumni cards to pay for meals and enter libraries on campus.
Students and faculty can apply for one-day entry permission for their visitors.
Alumni of Fudan University can also register on the university's alumni service platform. After verification, they can apply for permanent permission to enter the university.
As long as they are permitted, they can enter any campus of the university at any time by scanning their ID cards.
Fudan and Tongji both announced that due to limited parking space, they no longer allow alumni to drive onto campus and instead advise them to take public transportation.
Alumni must submit an application for entry to Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and if they have companions, up to four at a time, the companions' identity information must also be submitted.
Faculty and students can also apply for relatives or friends through the university's app, Jiaowoban, which will send text messages to both the submitters and the relatives or friends. They can enter the university using their text messages and ID cards. If they forget to bring their ID cards.