November 30th – Hong Kong’s COVID-19 epidemic has rebounded recently. According to RTHK, 76 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 were added in Hong Kong on November 30. Nine of these cases are unknown at the source of the local case. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on the same day that Hong Kong is currently “severe in the epidemic”.
According to a report on the 30th of Hong Kong Eastern Network, the Hong Kong SAR Government announced on the 29th that in view of the worsening of the COVID-19 epidemic, kindergartens and primary and secondary schools in Hong Kong will suspend face-to-face classroom and in-school activities from December 2 until the beginning of the school Christmas holiday.
The Hong Kong Education Council also pointed out on the 30th that, in understanding the concerns of the industry and parents, schools can arrange for primary six students to return to school for examinations according to their needs to be considered. Classes that may have to participate in overseas examinations this academic year can return to school to prepare for the public examination or conduct in-school examination.
The Hong Kong Education Bureau issued a circular to all schools in Hong Kong that if schools want to conduct examinations or face-to-face classes, they must conduct part-days. The total number of students returning to attend face-to-face classes or conduct examinations is limited to one-sixth of the maximum school students.
In addition, schools must strictly abide by various health protection measures. All people on campus must wear masks at all times, and must maintain appropriate social distancing, take temperatures for teachers and students at the entrances and exits of the school building. Due to the continued deterioration of the epidemic, schools are requested not to arrange activities that require students to take off their masks during this period.
The circular said that if students are unable to wear masks due to physical condition or other reasons, schools can adopt other preventive measures, such as wearing masks or droplet caps for students, to protect students’ personal hygiene. During the examination, the school must also take appropriate hygiene and epidemic prevention measures, including proper distance between seats, students wearing masks, taking temperatures and avoiding crowd gatherings.
The Hong Kong Education Bureau said that in addition to the above circumstances, schools may consider arranging students to return to school. For example, school buildings and dormitories are open as usual to allow students who are unaccommodated at home to return to school or dormitories. Schools must also arrange staff to be on duty to handle school affairs, answer parental inquiries and take care of returning students.
In addition, in order to reduce social contact and crowd gathering, schools should not hold large-scale activities such as Parents’ Day, Open House, Admission Interview, Campus Visit or Graduation Ceremony at this stage. If a school needs to meet, it should replace face-to-face meetings with online or teleconferences.