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Open Letter to Students – Latest Health Advisories from the University for New Academic Year

17 May 2021
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Dear students,

Latest Health Advisories from the University for New Academic Year

The spread of COVID-19 since early 2020 has posed extraordinary challenges to global health. Although the epidemic situation in Hong Kong appears to be easing recently, we should not let down our guard given the volatility of the epidemic, as noted in the recent importation of virus variants.  To safeguard the health and wellbeing of CUHK members, the University has implemented various disease prevention measures on campus, which include enhanced cleaning and disinfection. 

For the new academic year commencing in September, the University hopes to offer more face-to-face teaching and learning activities on campus, as well as to allow normal capacity in residential halls. With increasing number of people taking part in activities on campus, it becomes all the more important to expand vaccinations, as they serve as a bulwark to enhance protection for students and staff, as well as external service providers, visitors, etc. on campus. Recent health data from countries of high vaccination rate indicate COVID-19 vaccination as an effective measure in both personal protection and prevention of the spread of the virus.   For example, a recent study published in Lancet (May 2021) presents robust evidence that after two doses of BNT162b2 (BioNTech), an effectiveness of over 85% can be achieved against asymptomatic or symptomatic infection. Immunization is critical to help protect our city at large, and our University community in particular. 

Student activities

The University is now reviewing the delivery mode of classes and arrangements of on-campus activities and student exchange programmes for the new semester. If local COVID-19 infection remains under control, we will offer more face-to-face academic and student activities on campus. Expanded vaccination of our community – students, faculty and staff – will significantly enhance the effectiveness of our anti-epidemic measures and enable our plans to expand in-person learning on campus. The University strongly encourages all students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the earliest opportunity. Together with other infection control measures, such as social distancing, frequent hand washing and mask wearing, our University community will be better protected and contribute to curtailing COVID-19 transmission in Hong Kong. For our outgoing exchange students, we strongly encourage full vaccination before travelling overseas and observance of the measures prescribed/required by the hosting institutions.

The CUHK Medical Centre is one of the Community Vaccination Centers in Hong Kong that provide BioNTech/Fosun [Comirnaty] vaccine administration. Online appointment can be made through the following link: https://booking.covidvaccine.gov.hk/forms/index.jsp.

Hostel arrangements

As a large number of students reside together in hostels with shared public facilities, the risk of virus transmission in hostels is considered high. Therefore, student residents are strongly encouraged to take COVID-19 vaccination. Student residents who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be required to undergo an entry test before admission to a hostel and a COVID-19 test every two weeks afterwards at their own expense, while those who have been fully vaccinated for more than 14 days can be exempted from regular testing. The nine Colleges and the various hostel administration units will announce more details to their respective students soon.

All members, regardless of their vaccination status, should continue to observe safety precautions including mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing. For details, please see: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/7-ways-fight.html.

Infection control measures

The University will continue strict observance of the infection control measures as advised by the HKSAR Government and the Centre for Health Protection, which include the requirements and restrictions applied to group gatherings and catering services.

Thank you for all you are doing to keep our University community safe. Vaccines against COVID-19 are one of the most important tools to help us get back to normal. We count on your continued support in the fight against COVID-19. For more information about the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, please visit: https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/en/programme.

 

Alan K.L. Chan
Provost
On behalf of CUHK Emergency Response Group