Template on class suspensions pressed by nervous schools

Top News | Jane Cheung 9 Jul 2020

Clearer guidelines on class suspensions are being urged as at least 13 schools have reported students or their family members getting infected with the coronavirus.

This came after a Secondary Three student at CCC Rotary Secondary School in Wong Tai Sin was diagnosed with Covid-19 on Tuesday.

The school suspended classes for 14 days from Tuesday on the advice of the Centre for Health Protection.

Students were, however, asked to go back to the campus in batches yesterday to collect deep throat saliva collection bottles so they could be tested.

A student said the school has switched back to online teaching for the next two weeks.

Asked about hygiene conditions in the school before the shutdown, he said: "There was hand sanitizer in classrooms. When we ate, we had to keep a certain distance from others."

He said the school had separated students into different classrooms to facilitate social distancing.

Diocesan Boys' School in Mong Kok was also closed until further notice after the 42-year-old mother of a primary student was diagnosed with Covid-19.

The mother had attended a recent parents meeting on campus, prompting the school to suspend both its primary and secondary sections indefinitely and ask boarding students to move out.

At least 11 other primary and secondary schools - including Po Leung Kuk Lam Man Chan English Primary School in To Kwa Wan and Yaumati Catholic Primary School on Hoi Wang Road - were closed from yesterday for disinfection after family members of students tested positive.

The head of the CHP's communicable disease branch, Chuang Shuk-kwan, said schools should close for one to two days if relatives of students are confirmed to have the virus.

"Students from infected households will be tested and the schools are advised to close until they test negative," she said.

Catherine F Woo Memorial School in Sha Tin, meanwhile, decided to start its summer holiday nine days early - except for Primary Five students, who need to take internal examinations for the Secondary School Places Allocation.

The school said the arrangements were made after some parents expressed concerns over cases in the district despite there being no infections among its students or their parents.

Teddy Tang Chun-keung, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, urged for more unified guidelines on how long classes should be suspended in each scenario.

"Schools all react differently. It could send a confusing message to parents," he said.

jane.cheung@singtaonewscorp.com

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