Update (23 Mar 2022): The CE stated in her daily Covid briefing on Wednesday that arrangements will be made for DSE candidates that test Covid-positive, with special measures in place for those unable to write their exams.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-gnor announced that all schools in Hong Kong will reopen on April 19 at the earliest. Kindergartens, primary schools, and international schools will resume first. Secondary schools will resume face-to-face classes after the completion of Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) exams which begin on April 22.
Schools originally closed for community Covid uses
The summer holidays for all kindergartens, primary schools, and secondary schools were brought forward to March and were to reopen at an unspecified time after April 17. This was so that school premises could be used as Covid testing and vaccination centres and isolation facilities in the face of the booming fifth wave of Covid infections.
Consequently, schools would complete the current academic year in August and then move straight into the 2022-2023 academic year without the usual summer break from July to August. Secondary schools could hold in-person classes as long as they followed strict anti-epidemic measures.
Differing arrangements for primary and secondary schools
The Education Bureau also announced that the Internal Assessments for Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA) for Primary 6 students will be cancelled this year. Instead, the allocation will be based on the internal assessment scores students obtained in the second term of Primary 5 and mid-year of Primary 6. The Secondary School Places Allocation System schedule was also postponed from March 31 to May 4 due to the advanced summer holidays.
However, international schools were allowed to continue online classes so that students could attend scheduled tests required for college applications. Many international school teachers are on contracts that end in June or July, which would have prevented them from teaching classes in the summer.
Vaccine pass arrangements for schools
All schools in Hong Kong are under the purview of the vaccine pass. Under this arrangement, all teaching and non-teaching staff at schools, people who provide on-campus services, and visitors must receive two Covid-19 vaccinations by April 21. While the government hopes to boost the vaccination rate among school-aged children, they will not make it mandatory for stduents to be vaccinated to attend school.
Header image credits: Oranat Taesuwan via Canva