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By Compiled from news wires / May 20, 2003



Schools to reopen in China

BEIJING - Beijing will start reopening schools this week after a month-long closure due to the SARS outbreak. Primary and secondary schools with 1.37 million students will start going back to class on Thursday. China's capital city is the hardest hit by SARS in the world, with 145 deaths and more than 2,400 cases.

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The government ordered a two-week suspension of Beijing schools on April 22 to try to stem the spread of the virus after admitting it had covered up the extent of the outbreak. In May, it extended the shutdown by another two weeks, saying that Beijing - with a population of 14 million - had entered a peak period of the epidemic. Teachers were required to stay, giving "sky classes" by TV, radio, or Internet.

High school students due to graduate in July will be the first to return, followed by younger students at suburban schools, where officials say the possibility of exposure to the virus is lower.

Never too late to learn something new

BROCKPORT, N.Y. - John Kelly, a 94-year-old history major who graduated from college Saturday, says he never expected to finish his degree. "I started a long time ago, about the dawn of history," the Irondequoit, N.Y. resident says. "I took it one course at a time. I wasn't thinking at all about getting a degree, until [it] came into sight."

Mr. Kelly earned his bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Brockport, 26 years after first enrolling in college courses.

On the first day of one class last semester, students applauded when the professor announced Kelly's age. "I think it was inspiring to them to have someone who is that age who is still turned on by learning," Prof. Dave Jewell told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Kelly, who grew up in Rochester, dropped out of high school and eventually joined the US Merchant Marine in 1930. During World War II, he worked as a flight instructor in a cadet training program in Oswego. He earned his graduate equivalency diploma in 1951.

After retiring from the US Postal Service in 1977, Kelly took courses at Monroe Community College. He earned his associate's degree 20 years later and enrolled at SUNY Brockport at the age of 89.

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