Govt urged to suspend classes at secondary schools

Calls mounted on Thursday for the government to suspend face-to-face classes in secondary schools after a number of teenagers were recently infected with Covid-19.

The Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers said in a statement that the coronavirus situation in the city has been worsening.

It urged the Education Bureau to prioritise the health of students and teachers, and announce the suspension of in-person classes as soon as possible.

Lawmaker Tang Fei of the federation, who is also a secondary school principal, told an RTHK programme there’s growing nervousness in the education sector and he’s been getting a lot of enquiries as to whether or not lessons will soon be moved online.

Nineteen lawmakers from the DAB party have written to Education Secretary Kevin Yeung urging him to take swift action.

One of them, Holden Chow, said he is aware that the move would affect students, especially those who are sitting exams, but it’s important to protect them from getting infected.

“It’s not an easy decision to make but I think the government needs to take tough calls because health is of utmost importance,” he said.

Meanwhile, a specialist in respiratory medicine, Leung Chi-chiu, warned that the virus could be passed on quickly among students and spread further to a large number of families if face-to-face lessons continue.

He said current anti-epidemic measures at schools can’t effectively prevent the transmission of the Omicron variant of Covid.

“There is a major hazard. Once we have a large outbreak inside a school, it can rapidly spread across many families because in each secondary school, you may have students from a few hundred or even up to a thousand families,” he said.

In-person classes at kindergartens and primary schools have been suspended since last Friday.

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Last updated: 2021-01-20 HKT 12:20