Covid-19: How Well Are Hong Kong Schools Coping?

As Hong Kong’s international schools enter their sixth week of mandatory closures, we look at how online learning is being used to educate students, the cost of closing schools for at least 12 weeks, and how students are coping with the pressure of exams. There are lessons for schools around the world...
This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19
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This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19

How are students being supported in terms of wellbeing?

The ESF's learning from home guide for parents

It’s not a typical school environment. Learning from home can be a lonely experience; there’s no classroom chatter, face-to-face interaction with the teacher, or outdoor play. There’s no discussion in class, hands-on science practicals, or even simply the structure of wearing a uniform and taking set breaks.

ESF Sha Tin College student Kevin said: “Am I getting used to staying at home for long periods? To be honest, I feel like not going to school isn't that much of a big issue for me. However, staying at home for so long does get a bit tiring eventually, so going to school would feel great for a change.

“I usually go out for a 30-minute run every day as long as the air pollution isn't too bad. Funny thing is, despite the threat of the Coronavirus, there are a lot more people on the sidewalk next to the sea.”

As the weeks have passed, schools have stepped up measures to support students in terms of wellbeing. The English Schools Foundation (ESF) is among those sending out learning from home guides for parents, with advice including how to create a study area, the importance of maintaining a normal school routine with wake-up alarms and set learning hours each day, and the need for bursts of exercise or physical activity in between study periods.

Schools are very invested in their students' wellbeing during such troubled times. Kellett School’s PE department is uploading daily workout for students that can be done indoors using furniture, and students can have live chats with their tutors every day at noon to discuss any concerns.

Stamford American School, Hong Kong is offering online webinars for parents on “Online Learning: Staying focused, Staying sane”. And Hong Kong International School is posting daily movement games and music video for students to do during their lunch break, and telling them to, “Get some fresh air and get moving around, so you’re ready for the rest of your afternoon.”

ESF King George V College has uploaded a video showing breathing techniques for detoxing and building the immune system, which it says is “also helpful for our students who will be facing exams shortly by lowering anxiety and increasing concentration”. Its student Wellbeing Ambassadors are also posting daily positive and supportive messages on the school’s Instagram account.

Next page: What is happening beyond the classroom?

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