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Under Secretary for Education inspects school's fight against pandemic threat (with photos)

     The Under Secretary for Education, Mr Kenneth Chen, today (May 4) saw how a school has joined the city's fight against the threat of a pandemic, during his visit to the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals' Li Chi Ho Primary School in Wan Chai.

     Mr Chen was impressed by the school's proactive implementation of a series of precautionary measures to guard against the spread of communicable diseases on campus. He was also pleased to see students' active participation in learning activities healthily and happily.

     Mr Chen said, "Hong Kong government activated the Emergency Response Level after confirmation of the first case of imported human swine influenza in the territory last Friday.  The Education Bureau has issued a letter to schools containing the latest advice from the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) to request all schools to stay alert in the prevention of the spread of the disease and to enlist co-operation from parents to join in the city's fight against the threat of a pandemic."

     He appealed for the full compliance of schools in enforcing the latest guidelines with the following key points:

* Clean and disinfect school premises thoroughly, keep windows open for good ventilation and adhere strictly to "Guidelines for Using Drinking Fountain in Schools" prepared by CHP.

* Remind parents to keep a daily record of children's body temperatures and hand in the record to the school.  When their children develop influenza-like symptoms such as fever and coughing, they should consult doctors for prompt medical advice.  The sick children should not go to school. They should rest until their symptoms have improved and fever subsides for at least two more days before returning to schools.

* Make special arrangements to provide learning support to students who have taken sick leave, and if necessary, to take appropriate measures such as arranging students concerned to sit for tests or examinations on their return to schools and mark the test and examination papers in the normal manner.

     Mr Chen said that if schools encountered difficulties in procuring protective gear and supplies for prevention of human swine influenza, their respective Regional Education Offices/Pre-primary Services Office were ready to offer support and assistance.

     He said the Education Bureau would continue to keep in close contact with CHP on the latest developments in the fight against pandemic threat and disseminate updated information and advice to schools for their prompt follow-up actions. The bureau met representatives of various school bodies today to further discuss effective ways against the spread of the disease on school premises and related issues including suitable contingency measures.

     In devising contingency measures, the Education Bureau reminded schools to establish an effective communication mechanism with parents and staff to facilitate exchange of important messages at all times (including after school hours).

     In case of suspension of classes, schools should adopt appropriate contingency measures, including support for students' learning, and arrangements for learning materials, holiday, supplementary lessons, tests and examination and staff on duty.

     The Education Bureau is preparing a handbook on Prevention of Swine Influenza including handling confirmed cases and arrangements relating to class suspension. The handbook will be uploaded onto the bureau's website when it is ready and schools will be informed.

Ends/Monday, May 4, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:02


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