A number of cross-border students returned to Hong Kong on Wednesday for face-to-face classes after the Lunar New Year holiday.
With a daily quota for cross-border travellers and no separate arrangements in place for cross-border students yet, these pupils are required to reserve a slot and undergo PCR tests before each trip.
However, they said they’re willing to go through all the trouble because they’re just too eager to go back to school.
30 of them returned to a primary school in Sheung Shui and a primary five student, surnamed Chow, told RTHK that he’s very happy to be back after a three-year absence.
"I woke up before six today, but I normally wake up at 7:30am for online classes," he said. "I was only able to see my classmates and teachers online during the pandemic. I want to come back to school and I'm happy to see them again. It's worth waking up early."
The Education Bureau announced earlier that the quota system is expected to end next week for cross-border secondary school students, while primary and kindergarten pupils will have to wait until the end of the month.
Chow's father said he simply couldn't wait for the current requirements to be scrapped.
"We had to queue up for an hour for the PCR test, but attending online classes for three years was having a huge effect on my son. He couldn't focus and there were no social interactions, so we just hope he can come back as soon as possible," he said.
Another student, surnamed Cheung, said he felt a little stressed coming back to school.
"I gained more than 10 kilograms of weight in the past three years and some of my classmates couldn't recognise me. But still they are so affectionate to me and it's a strange feeling. I'm afraid to interact with others after having online classes for three years," he said.
The school's principal, Chu Wai-lam, said he hopes the government can announce its arrangements for cross-border pupils as soon as possible, to facilitate their smooth return later this month.