In this May 27, 2020 file photo, Hong Kong secondary school students are on their way to school in Causeway Bay after a four-month class suspension caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)
Starting November, full-day in-person classes in Hong Kong’s secondary schools will only resume once 90 percent of students at secondary schools are vaccinated with three COVID-19 jabs, the Education Bureau told schools on Tuesday.
The Education Bureau said it hopes that all schools encourage their students, teachers and staff to undergo rapid tests separately on Tuesday and Wednesday, to ensure a safe and smooth school opening on Thursday, according to the letter
After the new semester begins on Thursday, all of Hong Kong’s schools, except higher education institutions, will maintain half-day in-person classes, according to the previous guideline issued on Aug 5.
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The latest guideline includes a series of anti-pandemic measures designed to reduce the safety risks in schools amid a new wave of the pandemic outbreak. In late-August, the number of daily new cases has soared from 4,000 to over 8,000.
Secondary schools that wish to resume full-day in-person classes will need to submit forms to the bureau.
The bureau said it hopes that all schools encourage their students, teachers and staff to undergo rapid tests separately on Tuesday and Wednesday, to ensure a safe and smooth school opening on Thursday, according to the letter.
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Speaking on a radio program on Tuesday, Joseph Tsang Kay-yan, co-chairman of the Medical Association’s advisory committee on communicable diseases, said the current wave of the pandemic outbreak is expected to peak next month. Most of the infections will be mild if patients have received three doses of the vaccine, he said.
As the virus has spread in a relatively short time in the latest wave and many people who were infected previously have seen a decline in antibody levels, the number of confirmed cases will continue to rise in recent weeks until the peak, Tsang added.