PolyU new semester to start on time

Top News | Amy Nip 10 Dec 2019

Polytechnic University will start its next semester on January 13 despite substantial damages sustained during a 13-day lockdown.

In an internal communication, the university said it will start the new semester as per the original schedule. Teaching will not begin until February 3, with the period from January 13 to 24 reserved for exams.

However, the university has yet to finalize teaching arrangements, a spokeswoman said.

Fierce confrontations between protesters and police prompted the Hung Hom campus lockdown until November 29.

The university management has since then opted to enforce stringent security measures, allowing only authorized persons access.

Police said 4,296 petrol bombs were discovered on campus in addition to 671 bottles of chemicals and 622 other weapons.

Laboratories were also broken into, with corrosive acids stolen, including 17 kilograms of sulfuric acid and 80kg of nitric acid. A total of 1,377 protesters were arrested, with 810 of them holed up on campus for several days.

PolyU president Teng Jin-guang estimated it will take five to six months to finish repairs, but individual facilities will be opened. He is confident the new semester will begin on January 13.

Chinese University, which also suffered substantial damages, has set January 6 as a second-semester launch date.

"The school will closely monitor the situation, including the reopening date of the MTR University station and service conditions," a spokeswoman said.

The University of Hong Kong plans to start the new semester on January 20, according to the school calendar.

Operations at universities have been disrupted since campuses became flashpoints between students and police for days, sparking an exodus of mainland and overseas students.

All eight subsidized universities canceled campus classes, with PolyU, Baptist University, University of Science and Technology and HKU switching to online teaching.

CUHK announced it would shorten its first semester in the aftermath of fierce fighting over a bridge overlooking Tolo Highway when police fired more than 1,000 tear gas canisters in one night.

The university appointed an independent accredited laboratory to collect air, water and soil samples at various locations for testing of contaminants. Results so far have been satisfactory but did not include samples drawn from the bridge.

amy.nip@singtaonewscorp.com

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