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05.05.2021

[eNews] Panel Discussion on Opening Schools in Hong Kong during COVID-19

Hong Kong’s success with COVID-19 lies in strict health and safety measures, including early and repeated school closure.

The Center for Economic Policy’s online discussion on April 16, titled “Opening Schools in Hong Kong in the Time of COVID” explored the rationale for closing schools and arguments for opening schools. Featuring Mrs Belinda GREER, CEO of the English Schools Foundation (ESF), and Professor Hyuncheol Bryant KIM, Associate Professor of Economics at HKUST, the discussion also looked at the possibilities of keeping schools open even if a new wave of COVID-19 cases surfaces. Associate Director Professor Sujata VISARIA moderated the conversation.

Professor KIM explained policy decisions should consider students’ behavioral response – children who cannot go to school can still spread the virus through socializing. With appropriate safety protocols, keeping schools open might be the best option. Mrs GREER highlighted that education is a social activity. Despite the ESF’s successes with online schooling, parents, teaching staff and management agreed that bringing students back into school was a top priority. She also provided insights into their efforts to create a safe in-person learning environment. Professor KIM also underscored the importance of in-person schooling for educational achievement, and how prolonged school closure could exacerbate underlying societal inequalities.

Watch the event recording here!


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