- Parents, teachers and principals feel classes should be suspended for at least one to two weeks after schools reopen on February 3
- Earlier in the day, Macau government also extended holiday until at least February 10 for all schools except higher education institutions
Hong Kong's Education Bureau came under pressure from parents, teachers and principals on Friday to suspend classes following the Lunar New Year holiday amid the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak after neighbouring Macau took a similar step.
The city's two leading teachers' unions have urged education officials to suspend classes for at least one to two weeks after most kindergarten, primary, and secondary schools reopen on February 3.
The Professional Teachers' Union (PTU), which represents about 85 per cent of Hong Kong's teachers, urged the bureau to extend the holiday until February 10.
The Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers also urged it to suspend classes for two weeks after the holiday to safeguard students' and teachers' health.
Hong Kong reports two more patients testing positive for coronavirus
At Fung Kai No 1 Primary School, located in Sheung Shui near the city's border with Shenzhen, about half of the 1,100 pupils come from mainland China. School principal Chu Wai-lam said the government should temporarily suspend classes if the coronavirus outbreak continued to get worse.
Chu said the school was considering whether to ask pupils to wear masks mandatorily when classes resumed after the holiday. Students will also be required to inform the school authorities places they visited during the holiday.
Teddy Tang Chun-keung, chairman of the Hong Kong Association of the Heads of Secondary Schools, and So Ping-fai, adviser to the Subsidised Primary Schools Council, also said the bureau should come out with clear instructions on the suspension.
Kindergarten principal and vice-president of the PTU Elaine Kwan Shuk-ling said some pupils might also travel to the mainland or overseas during the holiday, heightening the risks of cross-infection.
China coronavirus: what you need to know
Annie Cheung Yim-shuen, spokeswoman of concern group Parents United who also has a daughter studying in Form Two, said many parents had been frustrated by the bureau's "slow response" to the outbreak.
"The Education Bureau should announce a class suspension instead of leaving it to parents whether to send their kids to school," she said.
The bureau said it had been discussing with various stakeholders the option of extending the holiday.The government on Thursday urged schools to postpone all upcoming student exchange trips to mainland China.
By Friday evening, at least six of the city's eight publicly funded universities said they would make similar arrangements, with Chinese University and City University suspending mainland exchange programmes for the current semester, while the University of Hong Kong and Polytechnic University said they would suspend outbound exchange programmes with the mainland until further notice.
Baptist University said they would cancel or postpone student exchange programmes to infected ports and cities in the mainland until further notice, while the University of Science and Technology said they would suspend all academic and business trips to Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.
On Friday morning, the Macau government announced the holiday would be extended until at least February 10 for all schools except higher education institutions. The casino hub's government also urged private educational institutions to follow similar arrangements. Some 10 higher education institutions in the neighbouring city said they would extend the holiday until at least February 11.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.查看原始文章