Tuen Mun school first to resume full classes

Local | Carine Chow 28 Sep 2021

Ho Ngai College in Tuen Mun resumed whole day classes on campus for all students yesterday, becoming the first school in Hong Kong to do so since the start of the pandemic.

Students from junior forms are allowed to stay on campus for lunch, while senior secondary students who bring takeaways to school must tap their student IDs on card readers to enter and eat at a designated dining area.

Ho Ngai College (Sponsored by Sik Sik Yuen) has also spent about HK$50,000 on air purifiers for classrooms and installed plastic dividers in the canteen and other dining areas.

Infrared thermometers have been set up at the campus' entrance, and students must also use hand sanitizers at the school gate.

While practice sessions for school teams will resume, students cannot play ball games during recess and after school without a teacher present.

Choir students must also keep their masks on while singing.

The principal, Jackson Cheung Kin-sun, said around 74 percent of its 400-strong student body has already satisfied the vaccination requirement, while up to 85 percent of the 80 teaching staff is vaccinated.

The vaccination rate for students of all grades, except for secondary one, is more than 80 percent.

"We did a lot of preparations prior to achieving this vaccination target," Cheung said, adding the school has been encouraging parents and students to get vaccinated since June.

He also said the school originally expected to resume full day, in person classes next month but hit the target earlier, thanks to the Education Bureau's lower vaccination criteria: accepting students aged 12 to 17 with only one jab as fully vaccinated. "We will continue to encourage students to get vaccinated soon but we will not force them to do so," he said.

A secondary one student, Wong, said he was excited to be back as the last time he had full-day classes on campus was in primary five.

"It's my first time experiencing full-day school as a secondary school student," he said, expressing hope that the full-day classes will help him learn better.

Another secondary one student, Shum, however, said he preferred online classes more, adding that he was surprised the school had reached the vaccination rate so fast.

However, Shum has no plan to get the jabs, saying: "There is no reason to take the risk."

A secondary two student, Wan, said he was very eager to return.

"Attending online classes in front of the computer after school was not good for my eyes."

Being one of the fully vaccinated students, Wan said the school had explained to students the benefits of the vaccinations thoroughly.

Wan also hoped to participate in extracurricular activities such as football and table tennis as normal.

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