In this file photo taken on Sept 1, 2021, students, some accompanied by their parents, return to school in Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
Schools will reopen as planned after the Easter holiday, with half-day face-to-face classes resuming at the earliest in primary schools on April 19 and in secondary schools on May 3, Education Secretary Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said on Monday.
Kindergartens will reopen in three stages after May 3, Yeung said at the government’s daily anti-pandemic news conference.
School employees, but not students, will need to present a vaccination record to enter the campuses. All students can attend classes as usual, but only those who have at least one vaccine dose can participate in non-academic activities, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said at the same briefing that students and teachers will need to do rapid tests every day after classes resume, and 10 million rapid test kits will be distributed for free to students in need.
School employees, but not students, will need to present a vaccination record to enter the campuses. All students can attend classes as usual, but only those who have at least one vaccine dose can participate in non-academic activities, Lam said.
ALSO READ: HK schools to reopen on April 19 for half-day classes
The rapid test arrangement will be reviewed in late May. If a school’s infection rate exceeds 5 percent, the authorities will consider suspending its classes again, Yeung said.
On Feb 22, the government required about 800,000 students to take summer vacation in advance before March 17. Lam said the decision saved Hong Kong from another outbreak, as the confirmed cases soared in late February and peaked in early March.
Lam said students’ learning activities have been affected by the pandemic for about three years, and that although daily infections may slightly increase after the resumption of classes, the risk can be controlled.
READ MORE: Local groups provide anti-virus supplies for HK schools
After thorough consideration, the authorities held that it is in the students’ best interest to reopen schools as soon as possible.