The Education Bureau announced on Friday that cross-border secondary school students will be allowed to attend face-to-face classes in Hong Kong from the second week of February, while primary and kindergarten pupils can return towards the end of the month.
Officials previously said they were striving to let thousands of cross-border students travel to the SAR from February 1 at the earliest.
The bureau said it updated its timetable after considering factors including transport and customs clearance arrangements.
Iris Liu from the International Social Service Hong Kong Branch said the latest news will disappoint cross-border families.
"It's a bit disappointing, because the schedule is delayed. We have a lot of uncertainties like the checkpoint [arrangements], transportation and the testing requirements, all of them are uncertain. For students and parents, they are having many doubts and cannot make concrete plans," she told RTHK.
"Students have been waiting for a long time. Waiting for one more day is like a nightmare," she said.
"Especially for those entering schools for the first time, and also for those DSE students, actually they are rushing to prepare for their exam."
Liu also urged authorities not to make cross-border students take PCR tests for Covid, but to allow rapid antigen tests instead.