Students in China are facing a third year marred by unpredictable schedules, as schools across the country postpone classes in an effort to get COVID-19 outbreaks under control.

Schools in major cities — including the southern tech hub of Shenzhen, panda-rich Chengdu in the southwest, and the northern port hub Tianjin — are deferring restart dates amid virus flare-ups. Numerous other provinces including Zhejiang, Henan, Liaoning and Jilin are also seeing delays, according to municipal government statements. Nationwide, there were 1,293 local cases recorded for Aug. 30.

The moves foreshadow more disruption for Chinese students and show how the country’s stringent "COVID zero" approach impacts life well beyond the virus itself, more than two-and-a-half years after the pandemic started.