Hong Kong students returned to campuses on Wednesday as the new academic year began for kindergarten, primary, and secondary school pupils.
Schools are only able to conduct half-day in-person lessons in the beginning of the new school year, as announced by the city’s education chief Kevin Yeung Yun-hung last month. They can apply to resume full-day lessons only when they reach a vaccination rate of 70 percent.
However, fully vaccinated students are allowed to stay in school in the afternoons for lunch and non-academic activities.
In Ho Man Tin, a junior secondary student said he was excited for this long-awaited return to school.
“Although we are only having half-day lessons, we have already gotten used to this kind of learning mode over the past year, so it is not be a big deal for us,” he said. Another student said he would arrange other learning or extracurricular activities in the afternoons after the half-day of school.
Meanwhile, primary schools will most likely carry on with half-day schooling, given most of their students are not eligible for the Covid jabs.
A parent of a primary five student voiced concerns that her child would fall behind due to only having half-day lessons. “The Covid pandemic in Hong Kong has been brought under control, it would be best that authorities announce a full resumption of full-day lessons as soon as possible,” she said. She added that both students and teachers are wearing masks, which would not be a problem if students were yet vaccinated.
Another parent, on the other hand, said she was happy with the half-day school arrangement. “The pandemic is far from over. Having half-day in-person lessons is already way better than staying at home having online lessons the whole day. Also, students’ awareness of pandemic prevention is insufficient, so the authorities should play it safe,” she said.