The Macau government said on Tuesday it was planning for the city’s schools to reopen “no later than April 20.”
Education and Youth Affairs Bureau (DSEJ) Deputy Director Kong Chi Meng made the announcement during the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre’s daily press conference about the COVID-19 epidemic.
According to the press conference, the government will announce the exact “back-to-school” date two weeks in advance.
Officials at the press conference urged Macau’s teachers and about 3,000 pupils living in the Guangdong cities of Zhuhai and Zhongshan to return to Macau as soon as possible. They must stay in Macau for 14 days before they will be allowed to return to school, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U told reporters after a meeting with legislators.
Ao Ieong pointed out that while Macau hasn’t confirmed a new COVID-19 case in 35 days, Zhuhai and Zhongshan haven’t confirmed new cases in more than 20 days.
Macau’s last two of a total of 10 novel coronavirus cases were confirmed on February 4. All the 10 patients – seven tourists from Wuhan and three locals – have meanwhile been discharged from hospital.
Officials at the daily press conference stressed that the timing for the reopening of Macau’s universities and creches would be decided at a later stage.
The officials also said that senior high school students preparing for their university entrance examination would be allowed to go back to school by the end of the month.
Macau’s schools have been closed since the Chinese New Year holiday in late January. However, local schools – most of which are privately owned – have been conducting online learning sessions for the pupils during the epidemic since early last month.
Macau has about 80,000 school pupils – including kindergartens – and 35,000 tertiary education students, according to official statistics.