Coronavirus: Hong Kong students react to class suspensions


From frustration to concerns about upcoming exams, here's what secondary school students have to say

Nicola Chan |

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Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced a school suspension until February 17. Students have had mixed reactions.

On the first day of Lunar New Year, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet Ngor announced all classes will be suspended until February 17 in light of the coronavirus outbreak. While home keeps students away from the deadly virus, local and international school pupils seem to have mixed feelings about the homebound holidays. Here are some of their reactions.  

Issac Au Chak-hin, 17, Sing Yin Secondary School

The past week I have been just staying at home, doing revision and watching random YouTube videos to spend my day. Masks are running short, and I just can't really go anywhere. The deferral of our DSE mock exams means classes had to be cancelled, which also takes away the last school day of my secondary school life! What an awful start of the year! 

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Karina Chan, 15, Sha Tin College

I’m starting to transform into a koala, after sleeping for long hours in the past few days. It certainly makes up for my sleep debt from preparing for the mock exams, but I am still worried about my GCSEs. I left all my textbooks at school, and I wonder if my teachers would be able to cover the entire syllabus before the public exams.  

Bella Tam Sze-yan, 18, Lok Sin Tong Leung Kau Kui College

I’ve been studying at home and doing some exercises, as the class suspension has given me some room and flexibility to plan my own study schedule. Yet, I am slightly worried about returning to school, as some of my schoolmates will be returning from the mainland, and they might infect other students without knowing.  

Leung Wing-kei Jessica, 14, King George V School

I’ve been staying home most of the time, because my parents are concerned about my health, and consider public places risky. Meanwhile, the school is sending us assignments, but I’m a bit worried that I might not catch up on my studies without the help of my teachers.  

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Cyrus Chu Kin-cheung, 17, St Louis School

Half of my DSE mock exams have been postponed, so I'm just spending most of the time studying at home. Meanwhile, mock exams are still running at the tutorial centre I go to. While I’m given the option to take the exam at home, I still prefer doing it at the centre for the intense atmosphere. Of course, I am a little scared of catching the Wuhan pneumonia, but I believe these institutions would take precautionary measures for students taking the exams. 

Garen Arjun Gurung, 17, YMCA Hong Kong Christian College

I have been taking a break and just relaxing with my friends. I'm not worried about my studies, which I can manage as long as my teachers are uploading learning materials online. My only concern is our school exams might not be postponed despite the class suspension, and some students might not be able to cope with it.

Teresa Kwok, 15, South Island School

IGCSE is coming up in three months, and it frustrates me when my school teachers haven’t got the syllabus covered. Even though I am scared of catching the disease - which my parents describe as ‘dangerous like the 2003 SARS’ - I am going to tutorial classes daily to learn all the things I need to know before the exams. I am also doing some past papers at home.

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Mitchell Stilson, 17, Kiangsu-Chekiang College

My mom won’t let me go out, so I’ve been stuck at home since the coronavirus outbreak. I’ve been doing some self-study as my school recommends, as well as playing online games with friends. Having to stay home for so long feels boring and sickening, not to mention it is affecting our learning schedule at school - which might lead to plenty of make-up classes and a shorter summer break. 

Agatha Wong, 13, Sha Tin College

I have been grasping this rare opportunity to sketch, as well as work on projects that I wouldn’t have been able to complete in time had classes not been suspended. To me, the outbreak of the Wuhan pneumonia is rather unfortunate, as it has brought its victims adverse circumstances. We may only pray for them.