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News|Education Bureau inspects school premises in preparation for testing centre (Headline Daily)

27/02/2022
  • Education Bureau officials paid a site visit to the Chai Wan CNEC Lau Wing Sang Secondary School yesterday.

     

    Schools in Hong Kong are taking an early "summer holiday", and their premises may be used by the authorities for "universal testing", vaccination or even isolation purposes. Sing Tao Daily has learnt that a number of primary and secondary schools have been eyed by the authorities for use as testing centres. The Education Bureau has recently sent its staff to inspect schools in various districts to ascertain the suitability of entrances and exits, corridors and playgrounds, etc. If a school lends its premises, it will have to use the premises for two to four weeks. If the schools are to lend their premises, they will be required to take up the premises for two to four weeks and will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. every day, during which time the Government will take over the premises and be responsible for cleansing the venues. Some secondary school principals who are willing to lend their premises to fight against the epidemic said they were worried that students would have nothing to do during the "summer holidays" and hoped that the authorities would provide flexibility by allowing schools to organise online extra-curricular activities and make-up lessons.

     


    Schools are not responsible for disinfection and cleaning.

     


    "Universal testing" is expected to start next month, and the government is looking for a testing centre. <<Sing Tao>> has learnt that a number of primary and secondary schools have received notification from the authorities that their school premises will be used as testing centres, and are expected to be borrowed for one to two months, during which they will be open from 8am to 10pm daily. Schools do not need to provide manpower to assist in the operation of the centres, nor do they need to be responsible for cleansing the venues, but they are required to arrange for workers to return to schools to open and close the doors of the schools one hour before and after the opening hours, and to reserve a staff member to return to the schools to provide support when necessary. The Administration has also made it clear to the school authorities that the designated toilets will only be lent to the staff of the testing centre and will not be open to the public.

     


    Estimated Requirement for Two to Four Weeks

     


    CNEC Lau Wing Sang Secondary School in Chai Wan is one of the school premises notified of the requisition. Principal Mui Chi-yip told Sing Tao that an Education Bureau official, together with four surveyors, went to the school yesterday to inspect the entrances and exits, corridors and passages, the open playground, the covered playground, the auditorium, and other facilities, as well as to find out if the ventilation and power supply systems of the school premises are functioning properly, and to plan for the arrangement of the flow of people, etc. The process lasted for about 45 minutes, and the school will be informed by the authorities formally after it has been confirmed. The process would take about 45 minutes and the Administration would formally notify the school authority when it was finalised. He pointed out that the large size of the school building and its proximity to residential areas would make it convenient for people in the area to carry out tests, and that he was willing to lend the school building to support the fight against the epidemic, which was expected to last for two to four weeks.

     


    Mui Chi-yip pointed out that in principle, schools should still open their premises for students in need to return to school during the "summer holidays", but if they receive formal notification from the authorities, they will issue a circular appealing that students should not return to school if it is not necessary; and after the authorities have returned the school premises, they will decide whether to arrange for a cleansing company to carry out a thorough disinfection, depending on the situation. He admitted that he was worried that students would have nothing to do during the summer holidays. Schools should provide online extra-curricular activities and make-up classes for students to deal with their academic, emotional and interpersonal problems, and he hoped that the authorities would provide flexibility.

     


    Dr Leung Tze-chiu, a respiratory specialist, pointed out that at present, one out of every ten persons tested in Hong Kong is diagnosed, and the infection density is high. To reduce the risk of cross-infection in testing centres, testing should be conducted in ventilated and open areas in school premises to avoid gathering of people indoors; if indoor venues are to be used, spaces with high floor heights should be selected. In his view, the risk of an outbreak would be higher if high-risk individuals or carriers of the virus were allowed to go to testing centres for testing, and he suggested that the Government should review its strategy and allow the public to collect samples at home.

     


    In addition, this year's HKDSE Examination will be held at the end of April. Mui Chi-yip said he was not worried that the Administration would not be able to return it as scheduled, thus affecting the arrangements for the examination centres. The Examinations and Assessment Authority replied that it would pay attention to the Government's announcement and take appropriate follow-up action.