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EDB announces school arrangements
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     The Education Bureau (EDB) announced today (June 23) that there would be no resumption of classes in this school year for kindergartens, kindergarten-cum-child care centres, primary schools (including private independent schools, international schools and English School Foundation schools), and special schools (except schools for social development with secondary section only).

     The decision was made in consultation with the health authorities, taking into account the latest information of human swine influenza (HSI) in Hong Kong.

     An EDB spokesman said, "We made the decision on grounds that the HSI virus becomes active in the community.  With a large number of young students gathering in schools and having close contacts for extended periods of time will increase the chance of outbreak.  Moreover, young children are more vulnerable to the disease and may lead to severe cases."

     "As for secondary schools, based on the assessment of the Department of Health (DH) on the latest development of HSI, although the HSI virus has caused outbreaks in individual secondary schools, the situation is similar to what has been anticipated."

     "Besides, the symptoms in secondary school students who have contracted HSI are no different from that caused by seasonal influenza, and they are less likely to develop complications when comparing with younger children."

     "Under such circumstances, it is not necessary to implement territory-wide class suspension for secondary schools at this stage."

     The spokesman stressed, "If an individual secondary school is verified by the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of having a confirmed case of HSI on or after June 24, the school concerned will have an early summer break.  For schools that require special arrangements, we will liaise with them on a need basis."

     "Although it is not necessary to implement territory-wide class suspension for secondary schools, we recommend schools to advance the summer break for students after completion of their final examinations and all necessary arrangements."

     "We suggest schools to reduce as far as possible their post-examination activities so as to advance the summer holiday for students with a view to minimising disease transmission in schools."

     As some of the kindergartens (KGs) and kindergarten-cum-child care centres (KG-cum-CCCs) would start the new school year in August, the EDB would keep in contact with DH and make further announcement by end of July on class resumption arrangements for the new school year.

     EDB also reminded tutorial schools to step up cleansing and disinfection of their premises during the summer break, and adjust the number of students participating in the activities.  They should also make reference to CHP's guidelines and put in place precautionary measures when planning their teaching and other activities.

     Detailed arrangements for primary schools, secondary schools and KGs/KG-cum-CCCs are as follows:


Primary schools
     
* CHP of DH has issued guidelines on the arrangements for Primary 5 second-term examination. Schools can conduct the examinations between end June and early July according to the guidelines.

* If for special reason some schools cannot conduct the examinations in the said period, they can conduct the examinations during the summer holiday or in early September.  Schools should inform parents of the relevant arrangements well in advance.

* The 2009 Secondary School Places Allocation results will be released on July 7 and Secondary 1 registration will be held on July 9 and 10 as scheduled.  Collection of Allocation Slips and registration will be handled by parents and guardians.  There is no need for the students to go to schools.

* During the class suspension period and summer holiday, schools should make appropriate arrangements to avoid having a large number of students attending school activities.  Schools should make reference to the guidelines issued by CHP and put in place necessary precautionary measures while conducting activities inside and outside schools.  Parents should be clearly informed of the arrangements.  

* During the class suspension period and summer holiday, schools should step up measures to clean their premises.  Parents should also maintain good hygiene at home.  Before the scheduled summer holiday, schools should keep their premises and boarding section open and arrange staff to be on duty to take care of students who will be unattended at home and have to go back to school.


Secondary schools

* The Territory-wide System Assessment for Secondary 3 is to be conducted today and tomorrow (June 23 and 24).  Except for those schools with class suspended for confirmed HSI cases, all secondary schools will conduct the assessment as scheduled tomorrow.

* The 2009 Pre-S1 Hong Kong Attainment Test will be conducted on July 14 as scheduled.  Nonetheless, secondary schools must observe and make appropriate arrangements in accordance with the guidelines on P5 second-term examination during class suspension period issued by CHP.  

* Results of other public examinations, including the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination and Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination, will be released on June 30 and August 5 respectively as scheduled.  Schools should make reference to CHPs guidelines to adopt precautionary measures while releasing these results.

* For schools under class suspension on June 30, the Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination results could be released as scheduled, though these schools are advised to step up cleansing and remind students to take personal precautionary measures before returning to schools.

* Similar to the arrangements for primary schools, secondary schools planning to conduct activities during the summer holiday should follow the guidelines issued by CHP and implement preventive measures properly.  

* Before the scheduled summer holiday, schools should keep their premises and boarding section open and arrange staff to be on duty to take care of students who will be unattended at home and have to go back to school.


KGs and KG-cum-CCCs

* Although there will be no class resumption for KGs and KG-cum-CCCs in this school year, the last instalment of subsidy in the 2008/09 school year under Pre-Primary Education Voucher Scheme will be calculated based on the number of eligible students as at June 11 (i.e. the day before class suspension).

* During the suspension period and summer holiday, KGs and KG-cum-CCCs can still conduct activities though they should observe DHs guidelines and implement all preventive measures.  Schools should adjust the size of group activities and make sure there is adequate adult supervision.

     
     The EDB spokesman reminded parents to avoid taking their children to crowded places and added that schools and parents should stay vigilant and keep good hygiene in school and at home to guard against HSI.

     EDB will issue letters to schools on the above arrangements. The letters will also be uploaded onto EDB homepage (http://www.edb.gov.hk).

     EDB will continue to work with DH and schools and will closely monitor the situation. The latest HSI information will be released to schools from time to time.

Ends/Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Issued at HKT 21:48

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