Some 3,000 teachers and staff members at schools run by the English Schools Foundation will undergo Covid-19 testing from this week in order to resume in-person classes for all students.
But the exact date for the full resumption has not been set yet for the biggest international school runner in Hong Kong.
"At ESF, we all share a common desire to have every one of our students back in the classroom every day. To this end, the principals, working with the CEO and the senior management team, have planned the next steps that will allow ESF to do just that," ESF chief executive ESF Belinda Greer said.
"Arrangements are in place for Covid
-19 testing of approximately 3,000 staff. This will enable ESF to bring approximately 18,000 students into school every day."
Greer said staff at kindergartens run by the group will begin testing this week, followed by staff from the primary and secondary schools.
It is understood that the group will distribute testing kits among staff members for the fortnightly test. After collecting specimens at home, staff can bring the testing kits back to schools for sample collection. Teachers who have concerns are advised to take the matter up with their principals.
Currently, like other local schools, a third of ESF students have been allowed to attend face-to-face classes on a half-day basis.
"Bringing all of our students back to school remains our ultimate and common goal. We are doing everything possible to make that happen," Greer said.
"With the uncertainty of the situation and the long-term view that some degree of disruption may continue for the remainder of the academic year, it is imperative that we now take forward plans to increase the time for our students to spend in school," she added.
Early last month, the Education Bureau said students from kindergartens and primary, secondary and tutorial schools could return to school for in-person classes on a half-day basis after the Lunar New Year holiday, with the number of students to be capped at a third of their total.
Schools that want to fully resume half-day face-to-face classes can file an application with the authorities if all teachers and staff members test negative every two weeks, the bureau said.
Authorities said around 400 schools had applied for full class resumption as of last Friday, of which around half were tutorial schools and the rest mostly kindergartens.