Coronavirus: full-day lessons to be maintained at Hong Kong secondary schools in new academic year as Covid cases rebound

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  • Secondary schools will still be able to run full-day classes in September if 90 per cent of students have received two doses of a vaccine and all staff three
  • Half-day classes will be maintained at primary schools and kindergartens until further notice
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All students and staff will be required to take a daily rapid antigen test before entering school premises. Photo: Sam Tsang

Secondary schools will still be able to run full-day classes if 90 per cent of their students have received two doses of a vaccine and all staff have had three, Hong Kong education officials have announced, with pupils and staff to continue taking daily Covid-19 tests because of a resurgence of coronavirus cases.

Half-day classes will be maintained at primary schools and kindergartens for the coming academic year until further notice.

In a letter to teachers, the Education Bureau on Friday said that owing to a rebound in the epidemic, schools’ readiness and health experts’ advice, all primaries and kindergartens in the academic year beginning in September would maintain half-day face-to-face teaching.

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All students will also still be required to take a daily rapid antigen test before school.

International schools offering a non-local curriculum were told to make reference “in principle” to the document and look out for separate announcements on arrangements for them. They have mostly resumed full-day teaching in classrooms.

Ricky Ng Wing-hung, principal of Buddhist Lim Kim Tian Memorial Primary School, said he was not surprised by the bureau’s decision given that the daily caseload had recently exceeded 5,000.

“We principals expected that the full-day in-person classes [for primary schools] would not resume until the end of the first term,” he said.

Ng said his school had already extended pupils’ dismissal time to 1.15pm so they would be able to enjoy the longest period possible in school, while the original lunch break when whole-day lessons were held started at 12.10pm.

He said pupils’ social skills had been adversely affected by the reduced school hours, as the time for lessons or extracurricular activities had been shortened.

Ng said it was quite difficult for primary schools to reach a vaccination rate of 90 per cent as some parents were still worried about the side effects of Covid-19 shots. He said he had not heard of any primary schools reaching such a high rate.

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