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Winter Freezes Out Schools In Hong Kong

It’s cold. The temperature is around 4C according to the forecasters. In apartments, it is colder since they are higher off the ground and exposed to the cold winds. The schools here in Hong Kong are closed since most of them do not have any centralized heating. The ‘polar vortex’ will lift in the next few days.

In places like Canada, the cold means nothing. The indoor heating, insulated walls and the double pane windows make the cold bearable. There is always a way to get warmer, but here there is nothing. Eyeglasses are thicker than the windows. There is only a small space heater since 360 days of the year it is not needed. The only thing to do is to add another layer of clothing and get under the covers.

Announcing the school closures late last night at 6 pm did not give parents enough time to plan for today. Walking this morning in Tai Po there were still students in uniforms going to school. When asked they said there was nowhere else to go but to school. Parents were working, and their homes were too cold for them.

The Education Department (EDB) should have either given earlier warning about the school closings. The Hong Kong Observatory gave ample warnings about the cold for today. The EDB should have floated the possibility of canceling schools early yesterday morning. It would have given parents more time to make other arrangements.

In Canada and other cold countries there are plans when there is snow, ice or dropping temperatures. Hong Kong hasn’t had to think about the cold since 1957. The EDB needs to announce soon what the plans will be for tomorrow and soon so parents can prepare.

Published in Hot Takes

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