1 September 2021
Dear Parents and Students,
The long-awaited September has finally arrived, marking the beginning of the new school year. I am grateful to see that the pandemic in Hong Kong has stabilized over the summer. Everyone has put in effort to achieve the goal of "preventing external imports and avoiding internal rebounds". People in Hong Kong have continued to wear masks, wash their hands frequently and maintain social distancing, which has enabled us to stay clear of COVID-19.
Looking back over the past two years, we can see that the pandemic has disrupted our lives. Students have been learning online for a long time, and it has been difficult for them to concentrate and engage. The progress and depth of their learning was altered, and students are more likely to lose their motivation or even develop bad habits in this situation. Besides, with online learning, whole-person development is also difficult to implement. Students cannot develop their potential or showcase their talents in moral, academic, physical, social, aesthetic and spiritual development in the same way that they can when learning in the classroom. Their character formation in terms of team building, sense of responsibility, respect, reflection, social etiquette, and communication cannot be fostered to the same level.
Furthermore, the number of deaths from COVID-19 has reached 4.5 million worldwide. The rapid spread and wide range of recent variants in different countries have devastated us. Parents still thinking that it is alright for their children not to be vaccinated because they are healthy and will not react too much if infected may be underestimating the spreading power and lethality of the variant strain. According to statistics, at least two weeks after the second dose of vaccination, the protection rate of some vaccines against the Alpha mutation dropped from about 90% to about 80% of the protection rate for Delta, with some vaccines dropping from about 70% to about 60% of the protection rate of Delta. Even so, the vaccination is the most effective in preventing fatalities.
As of August 31, the number of people receiving the first dose of the vaccine was at 61.2%, and the second dose was 50.6%. Our school staff reaches 93%, which meets the requirements of the Education Bureau for the vaccination rate of staff for full-time face-to-face classroom conditions. However, vaccinations of staff members alone are not enough to restore students to normal campus life. Students returning to normal campus life should not be a dream, but a goal that we should pursue together so that we can nurture our girls face-to-face in moral, academic, physical, social, aesthetic and spiritual education.
The Education Bureau announced the following on August 2:
(1) 14 days after the number of teachers and students who have received the second dose of the vaccination reaches 70%, students can return to normal campus life.
(2) 14 days after the number of students of a certain level have completed the second dose of vaccination reaches 70%, the Education Bureau also allows schools to conduct full-scale classroom and other activities for students of that level. For example, face-to-face classes can be conducted for Form 5 and Form 6 to better prepare for the DSE exams.
(3) 14 days after an individual student has completed the second dose of the vaccination, the school can arrange for that individual student to participate in non-academic extracurricular activities during the second half of the school day, such as music, sports, and arts activities.
The school conducts a "Statistical Survey of Vaccination Status" to understand the vaccination status of students, which is especially important to whether the school can resume normal campus life. Therefore, the school once again encourages parents to consult doctors and actively consider vaccinating their daughters. The effective anti-epidemic barrier also allows students to have a more comprehensive campus life experience. School needs to collect and keep the vaccination records of students in order to apply to the Education Bureau to resume full-day learning activities, and arrange for students who have been vaccinated to participate in school activities in the afternoon. The relevant information is only used for statistics on the vaccination rate of the whole school and for staff at the Education Bureau to check. The information collection process will only be processed by the staff who have been authorized to protect the privacy of students.
I hope that the home-school cooperation will work firmly to help our girls to return to normal school life as soon as possible.