‘Never done tests like this before’ as covid turns students’ noses up

Roxanne Li

Pupils were left baffled by rapid antigen tests as kindergartens and secondary schools resumed in-person classes yesterday.

Lions College, a secondary school in Kwai Chung, yesterday resumed face-to-face classes for some 600 students. Among them, more than 10 students forgot to take a quick test before arriving at school.

A fifth-grade student said he had never administered a rapid test before.

“I don’t know how to do it, it’s so complicated,” he said, adding that he needed to consult a teacher for help.

The government has stipulated that all school staff and pupils must take a rapid test each day before leaving for school. Only people with negative results will be allowed inside the classroom.

Chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday it was not the right time to rethink the rapid test requirement as it has proven to be a source of comfort for school staff and parents.

“It wasn’t meant to be a permanent policy,” Lam said. “But in due course we will come back to this measure.”

In the meantime, she added, the government will provide enough rapid test kits to schools to distribute free to pupils in need.

Some 1,500 kindergartens and daycare centers as well as more than 400 secondary schools resumed in-person classes yesterday, said the main doctor and health officer of the Center for Health Protection, Albert Au Ka-wing.

Peggy Tang Hiu-ching, a social worker with Caritas Hong Kong, urged parents to be mindful of their child’s mental health during the transition to in-person classes.

Indeed, this warning takes on all the more urgency as two high school students died yesterday.

A 17-year-old boy was found on a platform at Fo Tan’s Chun Yeung Estate at 6 a.m. yesterday. The teenager, who was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital, was a fifth grade student at a Ho Man Tin school.

Four hours earlier, a 12-year-old Secondary 1 student was found dead after falling from a building on Tung Chau Street in Cheung Sha Wan.

Meanwhile, the Education Office said the results of the discretionary allocation of secondary school places will be released today, while the results of the central allocation stage will be announced on July 26.

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