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Shanghai university sparked ridicule after it moved mandatory swimming test online amid Covid outbreak

A university in Shanghai has sparked ridicule after it moved its mandatory swimming test for students “online” in response to the city’s Covid outbreaks.

Last week, Shanghai University said that students who had yet to complete a 50-metre swimming test before graduating could do so “online” from home.

The move was made to “ensure that the graduation process proceeds smoothly” amid Shanghai’s Covid outbreaks, the school said on its website in a now-deleted notice that was screengrabbed and widely circulated over social media.

According to South China Morning Post, students at some of China’s top universities are required to master swimming as it is considered an essential survival skill.

To pass the swimming requirement this year, students must fill out an online “Basic Theory of Swimming” test by May 29, the notice said. 

News of the announcement immediately sparked ridicule after going viral, with the hashtag “Shanghai University swimming test changed to online assessment” receiving more than 120 million views on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform.

“This is just embarrassing, coming from a reputable university. How can a theory test be the same as an actual lap in the pool?” one Weibo user commented. 

“Are the students supposed to swim in their bathtubs?” another person said.

Many users also shared videos of themselves pretending to swim in their rooms as a joke submission for the test. One user’s video, for example, showed him “diving” into his bed and “swimming,” complete with goggles and a swim cap.

Even though the number of new Covid cases has fallen in recent days, millions of residents in Shanghai continue to be stuck in lockdown, per South China Morning Post. However, according to the outlet, authorities are due to officially lift the city’s two-month-long lockdown on June 1.

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