When Covid-19 struck in late January 2020, Hong Kong was among the first places that closed schools down. Because of our previous experience with SARS, we thought that the pandemic would only last a few months.
After a while, we realized that it was going to last longer, and schools started transitioning for the long term, from printing hard copies of homework for students to pick up, to putting learning materials on Google Drive for students to download, to using Google classroom, Microsoft Meet, Zoom, and similar programs as platforms for learning. We started out lending iPad Minis to students who did not have another device and opened up the campus for students to come back when needed, especially for access to the network for students that do not have access home.
It is easy to sum up in a few sentences, but in reality, it has been a gradual process. As the pandemic prolonged into months and years, the Hong Kong Government started using charity money to help underprivileged students buy necessary technology for school. Between this support and support from different organisations, almost all students in Hong Kong were able to access the technology needed to ensure that their learning would not be suspended by the continuing lockdown.
At a recent Principals’ Conference, positive feedback by a renowned Hong Kong education expert confirmed that Hong Kong has delivered excellent educational services during the pandemic. I am proud to add that our church stepped up to support us during the pandemic: my school received donations during the most difficult time, and many of our students’ families were helped with free meals and with meeting their basic needs. Together we worked towards the goal Jesus set for us: do unto the little ones as we would do unto Him.
Recently, Hong Kong was hit with the fifth wave of Omicron and the number of cases soared to the highest numbers yet. Schools closed again and we went back to online lessons. This time we are more prepared but students are understandably unhappy. As we work through this new outbreak, we continue to focus on moving with our teaching and learning process and providing students with as much emotional support as possible.