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Secondary schools to draw on DSE to prevent epidemics as classes resume (Sing Tao Daily)


中學復課在即 借鑑DSE防疫

Secondary schools will resume classes soon and make use of DSE to prevent epidemics.


The Director pointed out that seats in ordinary classrooms are arranged in a "zigzag" pattern, while those in larger special rooms are arranged in single rows in a "face-to-face" manner, so as to maximise space and ensure that there is at least one metre distance between seats.

(Sing Tao Daily) The Education Bureau has announced that all primary and secondary schools and kindergartens in Hong Kong will resume classes in phases from 27th of this month, allowing time for schools to make preparations, including the need to use up all the space in classrooms to arrange seats in a unidirectional manner in accordance with the authorities' guidelines, and the prohibition of small group discussions, while schools have also made special arrangements for the use of special rooms and for the use of rest breaks. Some schools have applied the existing anti-epidemic measures at the HKDSE Examination Centre to the resumption of classes, such as allowing students to take a break in batches and reserving the waiting area for temperature testing. Some schools have also planned to make use of the web-based teaching software to allow students to have group discussions during face-to-face teaching.

  The CNEC Lau Wing Sang Secondary School in Chai Wan is one of the examination centres for the Diploma of Epidemiology (D.E.A.). The headmaster, Mr Lam Tat-ho, said that the epidemic prevention arrangements for the D.E.A. examination have been satisfactory since its commencement, so when classes resume at the end of the month, the experience of the D.E.A. examination centres will be used for epidemic prevention and measures, including the requirement for students to undergo a temperature check when they enter the school, and to go to the waiting area if their body temperatures are higher than the normal level; and the use of transparent plastic boards to enclose the classrooms of students who are coughing or feeling unwell, etc. "We are now planning to allow students to take a break in groups according to grade. It is planned that students will be allowed to have recess in batches according to their grades, during which they can only move around on the corresponding floors or in the playground. Teachers will step up inspections and advise students who gather to separate."

  In order to reassure students and parents about the resumption of classes, Mr Lam said that the school would thoroughly clean and disinfect all classrooms, facilities and toilets after the HKDSE Examination, and that cleaning would be stepped up after the resumption of classes, and that janitors would be arranged to clean the classrooms every time they switched to another room, had a recess, and were dismissed from the school, and that "alcohol-based handrubs and alcohol-based wipes were placed in every classroom and that the students were required to thoroughly clean the desks and chairs before they used them".

  Lam Tat-ho said that the school's classrooms are relatively small and can accommodate 35 students on weekdays. However, according to the Education Bureau's guidelines, the seats should be arranged in a one-way row, with at least one metre between them, and after the school is arranged in a zigzag pattern, the maximum number of students in each classroom can only be 30, and classes with more than 30 students will be moved to special rooms and laboratories that have more space for lessons, "In the laboratory, each table can only accommodate two students, so they can't sit facing each other, and the rest of the students will use the tables on either side of them. In the laboratory, only two students can sit at each table, not facing each other, while the rest of the students will use the workstations on both sides and the seats at the back of the classroom".

  The resumption of secondary school classes is not only a matter of hardware support, but also a corresponding adjustment of teaching methods. Lam Tat-ho frankly said that at the beginning of the resumption of secondary school classes, they could only "watch the food and eat it", and that some classes such as Music and Home Economics, etc. would be converted into theoretical knowledge, such as teaching lyrics composition in Music class, and teaching the regulations of various competitions in Physical Education class, so as to prevent students from sharing equipment in close proximity to each other.

  In the past, most of the classes at the Fanling Kau Yan College, which has been implementing independent learning for many years, were conducted in small groups, with the class using a small blackboard called "iboard" to collate opinions and then report their views in groups. With the government's announcement that group discussions would be avoided after the resumption of classes, Principal Yau Kit-ying said that classroom arrangements would have to be adjusted. "Interactive teaching and enthusiastic discussions would be ideal, but we have to make do with what we have in the epidemic situation. She and her subject teachers have initiated a preliminary study on applying the experience of online teaching to face-to-face classes. Instead of a blackboard, a cloud-based sharing tool called Padlet will be used, so that even if students are sitting in the classroom "face-to-face" in a single row and in one direction, they can still have group discussions in the space.

  Ng Yau-keung, the Principal of the HKTA Ching Chung Secondary School in Kwun Tong, is considering how to arrange for students of different grades to attend classes at different times. He said that he had initially considered allowing students of lower grades to return to school in the first session when classes resumed, and delaying the commencement of classes for upper grades until the second session, but no final decision had been made yet.