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Hong Kong to re-open schools late September.

Image Credit: Laurel Chor for NPR

Hong Kong authorities to re-open schools on September 23, as the number of coronavirus cases decreased said the Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung on Monday. The reopening will occur in phases. Senior students and those that will start their first year in a secondary school will be the first to start school. Other grades will most likely start late.

The schools will allow only half days of normal classes where the students and teachers interact face to face. The reason for half days is to prevent students from removing their masks due to lunch. This brings an end to a 2 month closure of schools, which were imposed on July 13, to curb the spread of the virus. The closure was the second one, with the previous one imposed between February to late May. In total children have spent over 6 months at home, which is considered the longest period compared to other countries. Around 900,000 students were affected by the school closures.

The relaxation of some containment measures in Hong Kong come amid a decreasing number of cases, from a peak of 145 in late July to less than 25 in the past 12 days. Evening dinner is now allowed, but bars, gyms and other types of businesses that are deemed high risk, have remained closed.

More than two thirds of parents regardless of their income status, believe that their children have difficulty learning online at home. A survey conducted by The Society for Community Organization (SoCO) among 600 low income families, found out that 70% of the respondents did not have computers, and 28% had no broadband.

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