The Hong Kong government announced today that classroom lessons are suspended until further notice but it’s up to each International schools to decide when to start with online lessons.
Despite the whole last school year being compromised due to the class suspension for protests first and then almost 5 months without in person lessons, it seems that children will have to get ready for a second school year without social interaction.
Hong Kong parents saw the light at the end of the tunnel last June when school started again and there were no local cases.
Then despite an incredibly low number of cases reported in schools, the education bureau closed schools again in early July due to the increase of cases in Hong Kong, the highest number since Covid-19 entered Hong Kong.
The increased number of cases has been allegedly associated with a number of factors, among which:
- those who were allowed to enter Hong Kong without being subjected to quarantine (pilots, air crew, sailors)
- the sudden increase of people allowed to gather, from 8 to 50
- the reopening of barbecue facilities
- junk boats
- banquets and yacht parties where people share food and don’t wear masks
The latter were allowed even after the re-closure of schools, until a few days ago when they found that some people with Covid-19 went to a boat party. Banquets were also still allowed but the people were divided between tables of four, with a maximum of five tables.
The number of cases persuaded the government to reduce from 50 to 2 the number of people from different households allowed to gather together and the closure of beauty centres, games rooms and so on.
Now the daily numbers of Covid cases in Hong Kong are finally decreasing, though they remain high.
But there remains the question of whether something more could be done to allow children's education to resume as soon as possible, or for the government to offer at least some support for those parents who are struggling to pay school fees without getting much in return since kids, especially at a young age aren’t able to study alone, without the support of a teacher or a parent or a tutor.
So despite the crisis and pay cuts or jobs on hold parents still have to pay for the school and for a tutor to help them.
Support doesn't have to be monetary but can consider the following:
- Forcing schools to take extra prevention measures
- Reducing school fees (not from the teacher's salary but from the dividends of the owners)
- Giving schools the possibility to start in-person lessons again, and by giving parents the choice between these and online learning
- By stepping up the fight against the virus and taking more actions to force quarantine for everyone entering Hong Kong
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About the author:
Violetta Polese is a journalist who has written a number of guidebooks, including City Trail Guides to Hong Kong, The Netherlands and Sudan. She has also written for National Geographic and other well-known Italian publishing houses. She is now completing a new book “Hong Kong with kids” to inspire and encourage parents to discover all there is to do with children in Hong Kong. She is a licensed tour guide in Hong Kong who loves sharing her passion for and knowledge about Hong Kong. She is passionate about travelling, languages, nature, cooking and different cultures. Asia is where she finds herself most at home.
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