Hong Kong News

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Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024

Face-to-face thrill as cross-border students return

Cross-border students in primary schools and kindergartens were thrilled to return to Hong Kong campuses to attend face-to-face lessons starting yesterday, but some school buses arrived 30 minutes late due to cross-border clearance procedures.
Two weeks after cross-border secondary school students came back in February, the junior pupils, as well as those from special schools, returned to the land borders such as the Huanggang port and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge in the early morning to catch cross-border school buses which allowed them to go through immigration procedures without alighting.

"It's my first time going back to school after having online classes for three years," said a Fung Kai No 1 Primary School student. "I'm excited to see my classmates again but I'm also worried that emergencies may happen."

She got up at 5.30am to catch the cross-boundary coach and travel for around an hour to her school in Sheung Shui.

Students using other ports - Shenzhen Bay, Luohu and Lok Ma Chau Control Point - can undergo a simplified clearance procedure or use the electronic channel service to enter the SAR.

Fung Kai's principal Chu Wai-lam said there are 40 to 50 cross-border students returning to school while some had withdrawn during the pandemic and studied in Shenzhen instead.

He said the buses - running at 70 to 80 percent of prepandemic levels - arrived 30 minutes late as clearance procedures at Man Kam To took longer than expected.

Chu added that some students forgot to do an RAT test from home and had to spend some time taking it at school. He hoped that the RAT requirement could be lifted before Easter.

Under Secretary for Education Jeff Sze Chun-fai said the resumption of cross-border learning marks an important milestone for schools in Hong Kong to return to normality.

Meanwhile, supplier giant Luncheon Star resumed lunchbox delivery services yesterday.

The lunches received mixed feedback from students at Fung Kai - some enjoyed the rice while some said the food was smelly.

Vice-principal Yeung Chi-ming said the school had a monitoring group for lunch to inspect the temperature and hygiene of the lunchboxes and arranged a taste-testing by parents and teachers today to ensure the food quality and safety.

Luncheon Star supplier Cafe de Coral Holdings said all lunchboxes, food and factory environment samples had passed the test, after four students were suspected to have contracted food-poisoning after eating the supplier's lunches as of Monday - halting supplies for two days.

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