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China Daily

News> Hong Kong> Content
Thursday, February 13, 2020, 23:03
HK schools closed till at least March 16 as virus rages
By Gu Mengyan
Thursday, February 13, 2020, 23:03 By Gu Mengyan

Two boys in school uniform wearing face masks are seen walking at the arrival hall of Hong Kong International Airport on Jan 22, 2020. (ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong government has extended suspension of schools for another two weeks till March 16 amid a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung announced on Thursday.

Extending an earlier suspension that was due to see students return to lessons on March 2, Yeung announced the cancellation of Primary Six pupils’ third internal examination for placements in secondary schools that take part in the Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA) system.

The Primary Six pupils’ third internal examination for placements in secondary schools that take part in the Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA) system will be cancelled, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said

He said the Education Bureau will decide by the end of this month whether to postpone to April 24 the written test segment of the school-leaving Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination.

Yeung said Hong Kong would decide on when to reopen schools with experts' advice. Students are advised to make use of e-learning during campus closures of all kindergarten, primary and secondary schools, he said.

ALSO READ: HK further postpones reopening of schools, public services

Yeung urged students currently spending the break on the mainland and other countries and regions not to return to Hong Kong. He also urged local students to shun outbound travel.

“Social distancing and avoiding mass movement of people are the strategies for preventing and controlling the epidemic,” Yeung said at a press conference.

He advised teachers to design online courses and other distant learning measures for the duration of the suspension to avoid classroom contacts as cluster infection cases have been proved without doubt.

READ MORE: Mass quarantine after 5 show symptoms in HK housing estate

Yeung also said schools that are part of the Kindergarten Education Scheme will get financial relief from the government tied to student headcount as of January in order to tide over economic pressures. The bureau will provide one-off subsidies for kindergartens to sanitize their campuses, he said.

Special govt arrangement continues

Separately, a government spokesman announced in a press release Thursday that the special work arrangement for government departments will be extended until Feb 23 in order to reduce social contacts to contain the spread of infection. 

Government departments will continue to provide emergency services and other essential public services, as well as basic and limited-scale public services. The spokesman also appealed to other employers to make flexible work arrangements for employees in order to reduce contacts among people.

HK has so far confirmed 53 cases of coronavirus infection and one death.

jeffergygu@chinadailyhk.com


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