6 Jan 2022

Preparing for the new semester: Message from the Vice-Chancellor and the Provost

6 Jan 2022

Dear colleagues and students,

We hope that you had a restful break and a happy festive season.

We know that for too many of you with families and loved ones outside of Hong Kong, this was another holiday period where you were impacted by ongoing travel restrictions and border closures in what remains an ongoing, and uncertain, battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we prepare for the start of Term 2, Hong Kong once again faces an outbreak of community transmission of this virus and the coming days and weeks will be critical as we work to maintain our successes in protecting our community and ensuring some semblance of normality as we go about our lives.

The measures we announced last October, requiring all staff and students to upload information about their vaccination or regular testing status will prepare us well as we start the new term and deal with the immediate threat of community transmission in Hong Kong.

It is very encouraging that as many as 94% of staff and students are reporting they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and we thank all of you for responding so positively and protecting the health and wellbeing of our community. We are pleased to advise that the University will provide free testing kits for all staff and students with valid medical reasons for not getting vaccinated.

While our high vaccination rates are indeed encouraging and give us cause for great optimism, we highly recommend that you take the opportunity to receive a third booster dose when you become eligible under the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s vaccination programme. Staff will be eligible for one day of paid vaccination leave when they take their third dose.

Many of you would already be aware that the government has announced additional public health measures to minimise the risk of community transmission over the coming days and weeks.

These new measures will impact a range of services and activities at CUHK.

Commencing at 00:00 on Friday 7 January 2022 the following changes will be made:

  • All campus sports facilities including swimming pools and gymnasiums will be temporarily closed until further notice
  • All canteens, restaurants and dining halls will suspend dine-in service daily between the hours of 6.00pm and no earlier than 4.59am the next day
  • At other times where relevant, diners per table will be capped at two in Type B, four in Type C and six in Type D category premises
  • SRRSH Hall and Lee Hysan Concert Hall will close for a period of 14 days. The venues hold a Places of Public Entertainment License and therefore fall under the 15 categories impacted by new government restrictions. Face-to-face classes originally scheduled in both venues will therefore be held online for the first two weeks of Term 2 as deemed appropriate unless alternative venues can be identified
  • We appreciate that the inbound flight bans from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, UK and US may impact the plans of students intending to return to Hong Kong from these countries. The University will make flexible arrangements to ensure online teaching options are extended as required
  • The Physical Education Unit will also make special class arrangements to accommodate students unable to access the University Gymnasium and other relevant sporting facilities

The University’s response will remain closely aligned with government advice and we will act accordingly if further changes are required. We are closely monitoring the situation regarding arrangements for in-person learning and teaching, and we are prepared to make adjustments should they be required.

We would also encourage you to visit our FAQ page which features a range of updates on matters including our recommendation on booster doses, and what to do with work and study arrangements if you have been identified as a close contact and are required to quarantine. Please click here for detailed information on the latest government public health measures.

We know you will share our disappointment that the pandemic has again interrupted the start of another year, but we can be proud of everything we have achieved in our fight against COVID-19 and we are confident that the University is exceptionally well placed to navigate its way through the coming days and weeks.

Thank you for doing your part to keep our community safe.

Yours sincerely,

Rocky S. Tuan Alan K.L. Chan
Vice-Chancellor and President Provost