How students feel about heading back to the classroom as Covid-19 calms down in Hong Kong

  • The Education Bureau has discussed the possibility of allowing more students to attend in-person lessons after Chinese New Year
  • Students are excited to see their friends, but also worried about the risk of coronavirus
Kelly Fung |

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The Education Bureau is discussing the possiblity of allowing up to one-third of students to return to the classroom after Chinese New Year. Photo: SCMP / K. Y. Cheng

Yesterday, education authorities in Hong Kong announced they were discussing the possibility of allowing up to one-third of a school’s capacity to return to class after the Chinese New Year holiday.

With most of the last school year spent online, many of the students who spoke to Young Post said they were excited to resume in-person lessons, while others expressed concerns over the risk of being infected with Covid-19. 

Form Six student Joyce Lai, from DMHC Siu Ming Catholic Secondary School, is looking forward to going back to campus for a brief period before starting study leave for the HKDSE in April.

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“It’s the last chance for me to study in a high school classroom, and seeing my classmates and teachers will give me the courage to face the DSE,” Joyce said.

Year 11 Island School student Aoi Sakamoto is also excited about the idea of in-person lessons because she has missed her friends and teachers.

“Our well-being has been negatively affected by online learning; in-person lessons will lift our spirits,” Aoi said.

Aoi added that face-to-face classes will allow her to catch up with practical subjects that require hands-on practise, such as chemistry and physics.

Ma Jing-mao,14, a junior form student from Carmel Pak U Secondary School, supports the idea of heading back to the classroom because the Wi-fi at her home is unstable, and when it gets overloaded it can take nearly a whole lesson to get back to normal.

“I also want to see my teachers and schoolmates instead of just seeing their icons,” she said.

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While most students find themselves being more easily distracted with virtual learning, many believe that in-person lessons will help them concentrate better.

“Sitting straight in a bright classroom in a neat uniform is better than lying on a chair in pyjamas,” Jing-mao said, adding that physical classes would be more engaging.

On the other hand, students said they aren’t excited about waking up early again, and also expressed concerns over the chance of spreading Covid-19.

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City University student Karen Leung, 19, believes there’s still a risk, even though students will not be allowed to have lunch at school.

“No one can guarantee that students won’t be infected in other ways, such as from the transportation they take to get to school,” said Karen.

Janice Mook, 16, from Diocesan Girls’ School, is also concerned about the risk, especially because her school is in the hard-hit area of Jordan. “Will it be better or worse after CNY?” she asked.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung on Wednesday said the bureau is considering the possibility of resuming face-to-face lessons on a half-day basis, if all school teachers and staff would undergo regular COVID-19 testing once every two weeks.

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