- All teachers and staff must also have received at least two vaccine shots to return to campus
- Individual classes which achieve 90 per cent vaccination allowed to resume full-day lessons even if schools do not fulfil requirement
Hong Kong schools must achieve a 90 per cent two-dose vaccination rate among their student bodies if they hope to resume full-day, in-person classes next month, the city’s education minister has announced.
Confirming a previous Post report, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung also said on Wednesday that all teachers and school staff must have received at least two doses of a coronavirus vaccine before returning to campus, unless they had a valid medical exemption.
“If schools cannot attain an overall 90 per cent vaccination rate, [individual] classes which achieve the target are still allowed to resume full-day lessons and activities,” Yeung said at a daily coronavirus press briefing.
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“If individual students have taken the two doses, schools can still arrange non-academic activities [for them], such as music and sports, in the second half of the school day.”
Local schools will be permitted to resume face-to-face classes on April 19 at the earliest under a government road map for relaxing the city’s harsh pandemic-related restrictions announced earlier this week. Those that do not meet the 90 per cent vaccination threshold will still be allowed to resume half-day in-person learning.
The resumption would begin with primary schools, international schools and kindergartens, with secondary schools reopening later due to the Diploma of Secondary Education exams, which are scheduled to start on April 22.
The first-dose vaccination rate among those aged 12 to 19 is currently 95 per cent, but the figure for children aged three to 11 was much lower, at just 58 per cent, according to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who appeared at the same briefing.
Lam urged parents to get their children vaccinated as soon as possible, saying: “A high overall vaccination rate would allow more schools to resume full-day teaching, and more extracurricular activities and sports events.”