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SED announces 14-day class suspension

     The Secretary for Education, Mr Michael Suen, today (June 11) announced that classes of all primary schools, kindergartens, kindergartens cum child care centres as well as special schools (except Schools for Social Development with secondary section only) would be suspended for 14 days from tomorrow (June 12) to June 25.  

     Classes at all secondary schools (including Schools for Social Development with secondary section only) remain as normal.

     Mr Suen said, "This decision is made after careful assessment of the situation following the Department of Health (DH)'s confirmation of the first local human swine influenza (HSI) case with no identifiable link, and the discussion by the Steering Committee of Influenza Pandemic.

     "The Education Bureau (EDB) will keep in close contact with the DH on the latest developments. Announcements will be made on or before June 23 as to whether classes can be resumed as scheduled or suspension of classes need to be extended and any other necessary arrangements," he said.

     During the class suspension period, all school or out-of-school assemblies/ extra-curricular activities, including schools' internal examinations, should be cancelled. The EDB would not make any announcement on class resumptions if classes had to be suspended until July 10 or afterwards. Based on advice from the DH, we will inform schools when to resume internal activities and what preventive measures need to be taken.  Schools and parents are requested to take note of the EDB's announcements.

    The EDB has met representatives of the primary school sector to discuss the contingency arrangements in the event of class suspensions.  Based on the consensus reached,the arrangements for primary schools during the class suspension period are as follows:

A) Internal examinations (including the P5 second-term examination for Secondary School Places Allocation purpose)

*If classes can be resumed before July 10, schools should have sufficient time to conduct internal activities, including internal examinations, before the start of the summer vacation. Notwithstanding that, in the event that schools cannot undertake all activities because of time constraints, they should still conduct the P5 second-term examination.

*If classes cannot be resumed before July 10, the EDB would make an announcement, on the DH's advice, on whether schools' internal activities can be resumed and what precautionary measures the schools could take.  Schools can follow the DH's guidelines and determine whether or not to conduct the P5 second-term examination in early July during the class suspension period. If the situation does not permit holding of the P5 second-term examination in early July, schools should, taking into account the EDB's announcement on the arrangements for resuming schools' internal activities, adopt school-based arrangements for holding the P5 second-term examination between July and early September.

*Schools should inform parents clearly of the arrangements for the P5 second-term examination in advance.

B) Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA)

*The TSA originally scheduled for June 17 and 18 will be cancelled. No alternative dates will be arranged for the assessment.

C) 2009 Secondary School Places Allocation (SSPA)

*The 2009 SSPA results will be released on July 7 and Secondary 1 registration will be held on July 9 and 10 as scheduled. On the day of releasing the SSPA results, if classes for primary schools have yet to be resumed, students will not be required to collect their allocation slips and admission slips in person and their parents/guardians/authorised persons can do it on their behalf. During the registration period, students will not be required to complete the registration procedures at their allocated secondary schools in person and their parents/guardians/authorised persons can also do it on their behalf.

     The EDB called on schools to remind parents that students should stay at home during the class suspension period. Parents should not let their children go to crowded places and should avoid visiting with their children places affected by human swine flu.

     During the suspension period, schools should keep their premises and boarding sections open, strengthen measures to ensure environmental hygiene, and arrange staff to be on duty to handle school affairs and answer parents' enquiries. In case of practical needs, schools should take care of students who will be unattended at home and have to go back to school.

     The EDB issued today an urgent letter to all primary schools, kindergartens, kindergartens cum child care centres and special schools on detailed arrangements for class suspension and related issues. A letter has also been sent to all secondary schools about normal schooling for secondary schools together with information on necessary arrangements including enhanced measures against communicable diseases. These two letters have been uploaded onto the What's New column on the EDB's webpage.

     The EDB will continue to work with the DH and schools and will closely monitor the situation. The latest information on swine flu will be released from time to time and timely advice and support will be offered to schools.

Ends/Thursday, June 11, 2009
Issued at HKT 18:30


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