Message from the Vice-Chancellor and Provost – Updates on Vaccine Pass and handling of COVID-19 cases on campus
Dear colleagues and students,
We hope this finds you safe and well in what is a critical, and uncertain period in Hong Kong’s battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
We recognise this is a difficult period for all of you, and that staff and students are making enormous sacrifices to ensure the safety and well-being of our city.
For many of you, this means separation from loved ones and for all of us, it means more disruption to our daily lives. But we continue to get through this difficult period together – and we are so proud of the way you have pivoted to online classes, working from home, or in some cases working on campus performing essential services to ensure that University life continues – and continues safely.
This message is to provide you with an update on several issues as we navigate this juncture of the pandemic.
Many of you will be aware that the government is launching a “Vaccine Pass” with effect from 24 February 2022. This will have implications for campus access by all persons. Visitors will be required to present their Vaccine Pass for verification to show evidence of vaccination or exemption for medical reasons upon campus access. Please click here for more information.
Staff and students accessing campus via CULink cards are reminded to upload their most updated vaccination records or proof of medical exemption to the VTR portal. We urge you to upload your vaccination records to the latest version of the Leave Home Safe app so you can continue to access facilities such as canteens and other venues across the city covered by the government’s scheme.
Unauthorised parties and gatherings on campus
We understand this is a difficult, and often lonely time for our campus community, but the University has a zero tolerance approach to parties and gatherings on campus. We would like to remind you that the government has announced a ban on public gatherings of more than two people with strict penalties in place. The University will not hesitate to pursue disciplinary action up to and including instant exclusion from residence in the event that unauthorised parties or gatherings take place on campus. Minimising face-to-face contact is essential in ensuring the city reduces infection.
Dedicated accommodation for positive cases
The University has commissioned a dedicated residential facility to quarantine positive and manage step down student resident cases on campus, and another building is currently being prepared to maximise capacity in the event more positive cases emerge over the coming days and weeks. We are very conscious that the exponential growth in cases means that we may need to increase this capacity even further to ensure that we do our part to protect the campus community and alleviate what is already very significant pressure on the city’s public health resources. The severity of the situation is underlined by the HKSAR Chief Executive’s statement yesterday emphasising that universities have the responsibility to safeguard the well-being of their students as much as possible, including using university hostels to accommodate their own resident COVID-19 positive students. This is one domain where our residents may need to contribute and we ask for your patience and understanding for any further disruption as we isolate cases and safely organise appropriate quarantine accommodation.
In view of the pandemic situation, local students were advised to vacate their hostels to minimise human mobility and interaction on campus. To facilitate the affected students’ online learning from home, we are pleased to announce that local undergraduate students who have vacated their hostels according to the University’s anti-epidemic policy, and have subscribed to a Wi-Fi enhancement plan or card for taking ZOOM lessons since February 2022, will be able to apply for a monthly Wi-Fi subsidy of HK$50 available for a maximum of three months and until the end of the 2021/22 second semester. For more information, please click here or contact the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org or 3943 1898.
We know this is a challenging time and there is lots of information circulating about Hong Kong’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are doing our utmost to ensure that our FAQ page is updated regularly and steps are taken to ensure that our Act Together Against COVID-19 website is displayed prominently on the CUHK homepage. We encourage you to check the Act Together Against COVID-19 website and visit our FAQ page regularly.
Mental health and well-being
While our immediate action are by necessity first focused on reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection, it is equally important that we remember our mental health and well-being. The virtual world is key to ensuring that we contain the spread of the virus, but we know this comes at the cost of time with friends, family and loved ones.
We pride ourselves on being a caring community; therefore, we remind all CUHK members to please remember to check in with your colleagues or friends – technology means that although we cannot replace the comfort of face-to-face contact, its convenience makes a video call or a message just a click away.
We remind staff that you can take advantage of the University’s free and confidential Employee Assistance Programme which is contactable via a 24/7 hotline at 2721 3939. Students can feel free to contact our Wellness and Counselling Centre at 3943 7208 or 3943 3493 during office hours or by 24-hour hotline 5400 2055.
Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe at this difficult time.
Professor Rocky S. Tuan
Professor Alan K.L. Chan