Hong Kong extends school suspension for 2 more weeks due to COVID-19 outbreak
The education secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government decided on Thursday to extend the class suspension of Hong Kong schools for two more weeks in view of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) outbreak.
Primary and secondary schools, kindergartens and special schools across Hong Kong will not resume classes before March 16 in view of the latest situation of the novel coronavirus epidemic, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung said.
HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam raised the HKSAR government's response to the novel coronavirus pneumonia outbreak to the highest level on January 25 with a series of measures, including delaying the opening date of schools after the Lunar New Year holiday from early February to February 17.
On January 31, Lam extended the suspension of classes for at least two weeks, saying that the date for the resumption of school may be further postponed pending the HKSAR government's future assessment of the development of the epidemic.
Briefing the media on the latest class arrangements on Thursday, Yeung said the HKSAR government will consider all factors before making a final decision on class resumption.
"We will continue to take into account the professional advice from health experts, readiness of schools, as well as the supply of epidemic preventive materials in the community in making a further assessment and deciding on the exact date of class resumption," he said.
Stressing that "social distancing and avoiding mass movement of people are key strategies for preventing and controlling the epidemic," Yeung advised students to stay home as far as possible and avoid crowded places and group activities.
The education chief said the class suspension was not an extension of the school holidays. "Schools are making use of different modes of learning, including e-learning to achieve the goal of 'suspending classes without suspending learning'," he said.
The education bureau will implement special measures as soon as possible to help kindergartens with financial difficulties tide over the COVID-19 outbreak, including a one-off subsidy to all kindergartens for stepping up cleansing work at facilities, he added.