(To watch the video with sign language interpretation, click here.)

 

Schools will not resume classes before March 16 in view of the latest situation of the novel coronavirus epidemic, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung announced today.

 

Briefing the media on the latest class arrangements, Mr Yeung said the Government will consider all factors before making a final decision on class resumption.

 

“We will continue to take into account the professional advice from health experts, readiness of schools, as well as the supply of epidemic preventive materials in the community in making a further assessment and deciding on the exact date of class resumption.”

 

He advised students to stay home, or on the Mainland or abroad if they are currently there.

 

“Social distancing and avoiding mass movement of people are key strategies for preventing and controlling the epidemic. There is no urgency for students now staying on the Mainland or other countries to return to Hong Kong, but they are advised to strictly comply with the preventive measures suggested by the local authorities.

 

“Students currently in Hong Kong should avoid travelling abroad, so as to reduce the risk of being infected during the journey. Students should stay home as far as possible and avoid crowded places and group activities.”

 

The education chief also reminded students the class suspension was not an extension of the school holidays.

 

“Schools are making use of different modes of learning, including e-learning to achieve the goal of ‘suspending classes without suspending learning’. The arrangements are premised on the principle of maintaining students’ motivation and interest in learning, without exerting undue pressure on students and parents.

 

“I sincerely thank all school principals and teachers for their efforts and the Education Bureau will render full support to them by means of online resources and hotline services etc.”

 

The bureau will implement special measures as soon as possible to help kindergartens with financial difficulties tide over the novel coronavirus situation.

 

“First, for those under the kindergarten education scheme, the calculation of monthly subsidies to each kindergarten during the class suspension period will be based on the student headcount in January this year, ensuring that there will be no reduction of government subsidies due to withdrawal of individual students during the period.

 

“If individual kindergartens wish to adjust their tuition fees during the class suspension period or provide fee remission, the Education Bureau will expedite the processing of the applications to cater for the needs of the kindergarten and parents.”

 

The Education Bureau will provide a one-off subsidy to all kindergartens for stepping up cleansing work at schools, and will continue to communicate with the sector on details of the measures and other issues of concern to the stakeholders, Mr Yeung added.