‘NGOs, government can help closure-hit families’

The chairman of an education concern group says he supports the government’s decision to suspend in-person classes for kindergartens and primary schools, but said the authorities will need to provide support for families until face-to-face lessons resume.

Mervyn Cheung from the Education Policy Concern Group made the comments on RTHK’s Hong Kong Today programme on Wednesday, a day after Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that face-to-face classes for younger children would be suspended from no later than Friday.

Some parents have expressed concern over the effect on their children’s learning while others have expressed concern about childcare arrangements while they’re at work. Cheung told RTHK’s Ben Tse that teachers, NGOs and government bodies could have a role to play.

“So one way out is for teachers and school heads to maintain very close contacts with the parents in relation to the home-based learning and care of the students,” he said.

“And during the interim period, the Social Welfare Department and other NGOs may also join the line of providing needed services to families who have difficulties in taking care of children.”

The closure was ordered after several kindergarten-aged children contracted Covid from family members and then attended lessons, causing their classmates to be sent to quarantine. It will apply until after the Lunar New Year holiday in early February.

Officials said secondary schools were not affected as older children were better able to take care of themselves.