Such a move was also reported in other campuses as part of the country’s strict zero-COVID policy, which it has maintained since the pandemic began more than two-and-a-half years ago.
Mr Huang said he felt frustrated at times. The uncertainty behind the ban meant that “we could not see how long before it will end, and we’re just stuck in that cycle”, he added.
China’s strict measures also meant that many schools had closed with lessons moved online, depriving students of in-person interaction with their peers.
“A child’s feelings of anxiety or loneliness can be especially strong,” said Ms Victoria Yang, founder of Resoul Psychological Counselling Center in Shanghai.
The 38-year-old, who has been a therapist for over a decade, has seen an increase in adolescent specific issues such as internet addiction since the pandemic began.
The harsh lockdowns and quarantines have also taken a toll on parents, as China’s economy and livelihoods have suffered.
Some of them are under greater pressure, said Ms Yang, adding that their children may end up suffering because of this.
Citing an example, she said: “A couple may go from seeing each other before and after they go to work in the past, but now they are together every day and all the time, which will magnify some of the potential problems in the relationship.”
But the country has made some progress, said Ms Yang. “10 years ago, many in China were not able to receive psychological counselling. They thought it was very strange.”
Even as more people accept the idea of seeking professional help for mental health issues, Ms Yang said this may be limited to China’s bigger cities like Shanghai.
People in lower tier cities, particularly seniors, may still ignore the importance of mental well-being.
“They may not want to expose some parts of their life too much, because they feel that we should not wash our dirty linen in public,” said Ms Yang.
Watch CNA Leadership Summit live on 10 October 2022 from 1.30pm SGT via cna.asia/leadership-summit.