- Students in Hong Kong share their thoughts on heading back to the classroom during Covid-19
- Some think it's too soon and could lead to a fourth wave of coronavirus, but others are ready to head back
Yes, I think so. We should never ignore the possibility of Covid-19 infections among students. Schools resumed face-to-face lessons yesterday. There have been some untraced coronavirus cases over the past two weeks. This means community transmission is still happening.
We all know the health of students is more important than the knowledge they gain at school. So, it is still too soon to resume face-to-face classes.
Layton Leung, 17, Heung To Middle School
Re-starting face-to-face lessons this month is a huge mistake. Schools are trying their best to take safety precautions against the virus but they are unlikely to work.
The World Health Organisation says that we need to stay at least one metre away from others to ensure we don’t catch the virus from breathing in tiny droplets in the air. There are hundreds of people in school, including students and staff members. There is no way the school would be able to make sure that everyone stays one metre apart from each other. What’s more, we’ll have to take off our masks to eat lunch.
Hong Kong is not yet free from Covid-19. The decision to allow students to return to school could put thousands of lives in danger.
Keshav Gupta, 13, Renaissance College Hong Kong
Not at all. As we have already been conducting lessons online for more than half a year, it’s time to pack up our things and really go to school. Zoom learning is not ideal for Form Six students such as myself because we need more guidance from our teachers. As we prepare for the HKDSE, we also need to do more practice papers and get face-to-face feedback from our teachers.
Katie Lai, 17, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School
We should not be returning to school because there are still coronavirus cases in Hong Kong. Also, a vaccine will only be available next year so the risk of contracting the disease is high. In the meantime, online classes can continue so that students’ education won’t be affected.
In the near future, when there are zero Covid-19 cases, face-to-face lessons can begin. Even then, it is crucial to take precautionary measures such as social distancing, frequent sanitising, and the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of the virus.
Under a special programme, a group of students can attend school in person now to verify that the risk of transmission is low. This can be followed by a possible mass reopening of schools.
Such a scheme will give education authorities enough time to prepare for emergencies (such as a fourth wave of the coronavirus).
Sivakami Arunachalam, 18, National Junior College, Singapore
Will students be able to properly protect themselves against Covid-19 when they go back to school?
No, I don’t think so. Senior form students, especially those in Form Six, should be having face-to-face lessons now. We all know the DSE exam covers a lot of subjects. The school suspension had slowed down the teaching process. This has surely put more pressure on students.
Even junior form students, despite the fact that they don’t have such a tight teaching schedule, have already been stuck at home for more than six months. They must be bored.
This is the right time to start the new academic year because the number of coronavirus cases has been declining. So it’s not too soon to resume face-to-face teaching.
Cindy Lee, 15, Carmel Pak U Secondary School
For me, it is not too soon to resume face-to-face lessons. As I’m a form six student this year, I am going to take the DSE exam in 2021. However, many of my subjects still haven’t been taught yet. Besides, online lessons are much less effective than face-to face lessons. Having lessons in school can help us concentrate better. Some parents may still worry about the coronavirus, but the overall number of infections has dropped in Hong Kong in the last few weeks. So, now is the right time to go back to school.
Teresa, Wu Yuen-kan, 16, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School
As a Form 6 student, I think it is definitely time to resume face-to-face lessons. The HKDSE is one of the most important events of our lives, and while I agree that health is more important than exam results, I believe Form 6 students are mature enough to take precautions and reduce the risk of infection. We only have a few months left before the DSE, so we should go back to lessons at school as soon as possible.
Hailey Ngan, 17, Fung Kai Liu Man Shek Tong Secondary School
Our topics always get a lot of responses. Check out what other students had to say and join the conversation at scmp.com/yp.
Next week’s question: Was Hong Kong’s free mass Covid-19 screening programme a good use of resources?
Send your answers to [email protected] before midnight on Monday. Don’t forget to include “Talking Points” in the subject line, as well as your name, age and school.