Hong Kong extends schools’ face-to-face teaching ban but classes can run online. Schools returning from the summer break in coming weeks can resume classes as long as they are held over the internet. Education minister Kevin Yeung says all face-to-face classes and activities on school grounds are suspended until further notice.
The government said on Monday the new academic year will begin as scheduled over the coming weeks, but pupils will not be allowed back at school as part of social-distancing measures amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Education Secretary, Kevin Yeung, said all classes and extracurricular activities will be conducted online or through distance learning.
This applies to kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, international schools, special-needs schools as well as tutorial centres.
But Yeung said schools are required to open their doors to accommodate students whose parents have to go to work.
As part of the distance-learning arrangements, activities such as reading, completing worksheet and making handicraft would be done at home. Yeung said subsidies will be provided for students from low-income families to buy computer tablets for e-learning.
"Because of the uncertainty of the development of the Covid-19 epidemic, it's really difficult to say at this stage when normal face-to-face lecture, tutoring or teaching will be allowed," Yeung said.
He said the government will closely monitor the epidemic and will give sufficient notice to schools when it decides to resume face-to-face classes.
Addressing fears that many kindergartens could close down because of the indefinite suspension of classes, Yeung said he hopes parents will see the value of kindergarten education and not have their children drop out.
"There will not be any face-to-face lessons at present. We also encourage the kindergartens to arrange some work for the students to do at home... so that teaching and learning will take place at home."
Yeung added the government will consider further relief measures for kindergartens if necessary.