Coronavirus: Hong Kong’s education minister urges students to get tested for Covid-19 ahead of return to school

  • Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said testing would boost confidence for reopening but it would not be made compulsory
  • No timetable for cross-border students to resume classes as long as travel restrictions remain in place
South China Morning Post |

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Face-to-face classes are set to resume in Hong Kong (Photo: SCMP / Dickson Lee)

It won’t be long before schools go back to real, live classes, so the education minister is asking students and teachers to be tested for Covid-19.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung asked Hongkongers to take part in the government’s free screening tests, which are set to end on Friday.

“This is for the interests of society,” Yeung told a radio show, referring to fears the return to physical classes could trigger a rise in cases. “If staff, students, parents join the testing, it would boost confidence for school resumption. But we will not make it compulsory.”

Navigating the new normal of online learning amid Covid-19

Yeung made the plea last Saturday after he met lawmakers from the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, who expressed concern over some principals and staff rejecting the voluntary screening programme.

Last week, reports emerged that some principals and teachers preferred to be tested at private clinics due to mistrust of the government.

The Education Bureau updated Covid-19 guidelines for schools last Friday but school resumption arrangements for some 27,000 cross-border students – those living on the mainland but educated in Hong Kong – were not mentioned.

Yeung admitted he had no timetable for their return as long as travel restrictions remained in place without quarantine exemptions.