FAQs

FAQs about Infection Control​

FAQs
  • Staff and students who have been to areas known to be affected by COVID-19 will be invited to fill in a health questionnaire and are reminded to observe the necessary personal and environmental hygiene precautions and responses
  • We continue to follow closely the latest guidelines of the Centre for Health Protection for reporting and handling of suspected cases
  • Infection control measures including enhanced cleaning will continue to be implemented on campus and in University halls
  • Updated information is disseminated through bulk emails, a COVID-19 Info Hub in official HKU website and a designated webpage launched by the University Health Service for the disease
  • Apart from emergency and essential services, departments will also resume provision of other services as far as possible, but could be on a reduced level if required. Heads of Departments will consider staff arrangements to maintain necessary services as appropriate and will communicate with their staff members separately
  • The Task Force on Infectious Diseases (TFID) will continue to monitor and assess the situation daily
  • The TFID will post updates to the University’s website, HKU App, HKU Portal and Facebook page as appropriate and send bulk emails as necessary
  • All outbound exchange programmes to the Mainland will be suspended until further notice

Please follow the health advice for the workplace listed below:

  1. If you experience any respiratory symptoms, you should stay home, seek medical advice and not come back to work.
  2. Perform temperature checks at home before coming back to work every day.
  3. Use alcoholic hand rub before entering office.
  4. Keep your mask on at all times in the office apart from eating and drinking.
  5. It is better to eat and drink alone and avoid eating with a large group of colleagues.
  6. Take special care when entering toilets and pantries, as saliva can be infectious as respiratory droplets.

The infected staff or student must inform their Faculty Dean or Department (or Office) Head immediately upon confirmation. The Dean/Head will then immediately notify the Chairman of the TFID, who will inform and collaborate with the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection (CHP). CHP has the expertise and experience to advise on proportionate infection control measures in the event of a disease outbreak in a range of different types of locations. The University will seek and abide by advice from them as the local centre of excellence if the need arises.

The infected student or anyone who becomes aware of a confirmed case must inform his/her Master/Warden immediately. The Master/Warden will immediately notify the Dean of Student Affairs who will then notify the Chairman of the TFID. The Task Force will mobilize the necessary resources to respond to the case.

If you develop fever and respiratory symptoms, you should:

  • Go to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department of the Hospital Authority promptly. The Hospital Authority will provide laboratory testing for COVID-19 if appropriate.
  • Wear a surgical mask.
  • Do NOT go to work/lectures/examination
  • Report to your department, hall and college if you have been approached by CHP for matters related to COVID-19.

Please also see here.

 

If there is any chance that your health condition may be related to COVID-19, you should go to the nearest Accident and Emergency Department of the Hospital Authority directly, where rapid test for COVID-19 is available.

For enquiries about COVID-19, travel control and quarantine arrangements by the Government of Hong Kong, please call the CHP hotline 2125-1111 / 2125-1122 or browse CHP’s website (https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/index.html).

You are not advised to travel to Mainland China in view of the current development of the novel virus. However, if the trip is unavoidable, please note that travelling between Hong Kong and the Mainland is limited to control points at the HKIA, Shenzhen Bay and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge only, details can be found at https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/control-points.html.

You would also need to undergo a 14-day compulsory quarantine when you come back from the Mainland. Details can be found at: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/inbound-travel.html

Travel tips

  • Avoid touching animals (including game), poultry/birds or their droppings.
  • Avoid visiting wet markets, live poultry markets or farms.
  • Avoid making close contact with patients, especially those with symptoms of acute respiratory infections.
  • Never consume game meat and patronise food premises where game meat is served.
  • Adhere to food safety and hygiene rules such as avoiding the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products, including milk, eggs and meat, or foods which may be contaminated by animal secretions, excretions (such as urine) or contaminated products, unless they have been properly cooked, washed or peeled.
  • If you feel unwell when outside Hong Kong, especially if you have a fever or cough, wear a surgical mask, inform the hotel staff or tour guide and seek medical advice at once.
  • After returning to Hong Kong, consult a doctor promptly if you develop a fever or other symptoms, inform the doctor of your recent travel history and wear a surgical mask to help prevent spread of the disease.

Please also see here.

Mask wearing on campus is strongly encouraged. In particular, all persons should wear a mask in classrooms, shared/common study spaces, meeting rooms, and any other venues where appropriate physical distancing cannot be maintained. It is recognized that mask wearing is not possible when eating or drinking and that in outdoor spaces, discretion may be used.

This will depend on whether the University is able to obtain the masks required for staff and students. The University is making a concerted effort to obtain masks, but there is a serious shortage of supplies in the market at this time. We hope the supply situation will improve in the coming weeks.

In light of the incident in the Tsing Yi housing estate where residents were infected by the novel coronavirus due to a suspected fault in the building’s piping system, the HKU Estates Office started checking drainage vent pipes in campus buildings and student residences on 11 February 2020 as a precautionary measure. The check was completed on 14 February 2020 and no leakage was found.

FAQs for Teachers

FAQs

Please visit our e-Learning Resource Hub https://elearning-resource.hku.hk/, or the T&L About the New Semester website https://tl.hku.hk/teachonline/online-resources-for-teachers/. Additional resources on online teaching are available from ITS, CETL, TeLi and the Libraries.

We agreed that in 2020-21 students taking online classes will be required to turn on their webcams when the teacher asks them to do so. (Virtual backgrounds are of course permissible.) We also agreed that students may apply to their teachers for exemption on a case-by-case basis. If it’s not possible for a teacher and student to reach agreement, the case may be referred to the Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) in the relevant Faculty or, in the case of Common Core courses, to the Director.

Many teachers report very positive experiences with online interaction. In particular, use of the chat box function in Zoom can trigger participation from students who ordinarily are quite recessive. Others face challenges and problems, however. One way to encourage interaction might be to introduce an assessment component devoted to participation. Even a 10-15% allocation could make a difference. There are also Zoom functions, such as the ‘attendance tracker’, that enable teachers to monitor student participation and intervene with a question or private message. Similar functions are available in MS teams and other platforms. Please consult TeLi or CETL colleagues on e-learning tools.

Moodle remains the best way to keep in touch with students. In addition to any uploaded materials, please do post weekly consultation hours for students to schedule individual conversations with you (using, say, WhatsApp or Zoom). Many students have questions, but they no longer have the option of catching hold of a teacher after a lecture or calling by during office hours. This is also a way to keep the academic advising function going: https://aao.hku.hk/10-tips-online-tl/

One suggestion made by a colleague in Social Sciences is to ask students to complete a weekly assignment consisting of a brief account of the lecture and a short list of questions related to the material covered in it.

Some Faculties have created online platforms for teachers to post good and bad experiences of online learning. This is also something we could consider doing for HKU as a whole, linked to Faculty pages. In many Faculties informal groups of colleagues are coming together to share experience and provide mutual support. This is clearly a very welcome development.

FAQs for Students

FAQs

It depends on the organizing units and programme destination. You may contact the organizing departments/units for information. For general enquiries, please see below:

The University will not reimburse tuition fees paid by students in the current academic year. Instead, in both semesters it has already provided students with the flexibility to choose between letter grade, pass/fail and late drop options for all courses. Students opting for late drop will be able to make up the credits in a subsequent academic year, and will not be charged a composition fee for late-dropped credits from this academic year.

In order to minimize the impact to the residents and ensure fairness, there are arrangements for partial or full refund for those who are continuously absent from the hall/college. For the refund guidelines, please visit the “News” section under CEDARS Housing website. The guidelines cover only broad principles, please contact your hall/college office for further details on the logistics.

Please visit our e-Learning Resource Hub https://elearning-resource.hku.hk/, the T&L About the New Semester website https://tl.hku.hk/teachonline/online-resources-for-students/, or the Academic Advising Office website https://aao.hku.hk/online-advice/.

FAQs for Staff

FAQs

In light of the latest developments of the COVID-19 in Hong Kong, the University has made necessary adjustments to its operations. Apart from staffing for emergency and essential services, staff shall work from home to provide basic department services. Heads of Departments will communicate with their staff members about the detailed work arrangements to be made as per the department’s situation. Please discuss with your direct supervisor if in doubt.

You will be issued a quarantine order if you are required or ordered by a Health Officer to be put under quarantine. Please inform your Head of Department and direct supervisor immediately and send a copy of the quarantine order to ncovstaff@hku.hk. Such absence period will then be treated as “Authorised Absence”.

Please inform your direct supervisor and discuss with him/her to determine the work arrangements including work from home during your living with someone under home quarantine. At the same time, please be reminded to stay vigilant at all times and practise the highest level of hygiene and infection control measures, such as maintaining a social distance, avoiding sharing personal items and having meals separately. If you have any symptoms, please seek medical consultation immediately and do not come back to campus.

Cancellation of approved leave can only be made in advance and is subject to the approval by the Head of Department or his/her delegate. In general, approval may be granted where colleagues have informed their supervisor/Head of Department of their intention to cancel their leave application prior to the leave date/period and their work duties could be re-arranged after the cancellation.

You are required to work from home until further notice. Please discuss with your Head of Department for the work arrangements during this period and provide document proof showing your residential address in the Mainland.

It is in the best interest of you and the general public to comply with such arrangement. Please inform your direct supervisor or Head of Department immediately and send them the supporting documents (local authority’s announcement, air/train tickets with dates, hotel bills, etc.). The Head will exercise discretion for you to work from where you are and to treat such absence period as “Authorised Absence”.

When the outbound traffic resumes, please refer to the below question if you opt to stay on. Your safety is always the top priority. Please discuss with your Head of Department if you have any difficulties.

Colleagues who stay in a place other than Hong Kong for personal reasons are normally required to apply for annual leave (or unpaid leave if annual leave is exhausted) via the HCMS. Please check your latest leave balance with the same system before making leave applications. Please see the above questions for exceptions.

You will be issued a quarantine order if you are required or ordered by a Health Officer to be put under quarantine. Please inform your direct supervisor immediately and discuss with him/her to determine the work arrangements including work from home during the quarantine period. If this is not possible, such absence period supported with a quarantine order will be treated as “Authorised Absence”.

Until further notice, the University will, in general, not entertain applications for leave or grants for business/research trips. Previously approved trips should also be cancelled if you have not yet departed.

We strongly advise you to consider postponing or cancelling the trip. If you must make the trip, you are required to notify your Head of Department prior to the trip, and apply for annual/unpaid leave covering the period of mandatory quarantine.

The University will continue to provide medical benefits to eligible staff pursuant to the University Staff Medical Benefits Scheme. Your eligibility for medical benefits is available in your ‘Personnel File’ in the HKU Portal. (For Demo, please click here.) Please contact the University Health Service (http://www.uhs.hku.hk/) for further enquiries.

Please visit this website with all online resources available to teachers: https://tl.hku.hk/teachonline/online-resources-for-teachers/

Teachers may also contact TELI or CETL anytime on e-learning questions. Contact details can be found on the website.

FAQs for Faculty / Department Heads

FAQs

Please alert the colleague to send in supporting documents (local authority’s announcement, air/train tickets with dates, hotel bills, etc.) in this situation. You may then liaise with the colleague’s direct supervisor for the possibility of work from where they are and to treat such absence period as “Authorised Absence” (a copy of supporting documents will have to be sent to ncovstaff@hku.hk for HRS’ updating of the HCMS). If this is not possible, such absence period will have to be covered by an appropriate type of leave.

When the outbound traffic resumes, colleagues should refer to the question in FAQs for Staff if they opt to stay on.

Other than the situations listed in FAQs for Staff, colleagues who choose to stay in the Mainland/overseas for personal reasons are required to apply for annual/unpaid leave as appropriate.

Colleagues should adhere to the self-quarantine measures after returning to Hong Kong and are required to apply for appropriate type of leave to cover the absence period (please refer to the FAQs for Staff for advice on special circumstances).

While the coming semester will start with a dual mode of teaching, face-to-face classes shall be resumed once the public health situation in Hong Kong improves. We call on and appreciate colleagues’ efforts in arranging for exceptional measures to ensure continued teaching and learning for students during this period. Colleagues who stay overseas for personal reasons are required to apply for annual/unpaid leave.

Please immediately report the case to the Task Force on Infectious Diseases (TFID) by email to ncovstaff@hku.hk (for staff) or ncov@hku.hk (for students). Relevant offices including UHS and Estates Office will follow up accordingly. Please also remind the staff/student to submit the quarantine order as supporting document.

Please strongly advise the colleague to postpone the travel. If he/she must make the trip, he/she will be required to apply for leave of absence for the days that he/she is out of office, including the 14-day mandatory quarantine upon their return to Hong Kong.

Please advise the colleague that any approved business trips (e.g. professional/sabbatical leaves for research, conference attendance, etc.) should be cancelled and no similar leave applications should be approved until the Government’s Outbound Travel Alert is lifted.

Please discuss with the colleague’s direct supervisor to determine the work arrangements including work from home during his/her living with someone under home quarantine period. Please remind the colleague to be vigilant at all times and practise the highest level of hygiene and infection control measures, such as maintaining a social distance, avoiding sharing personal items and having meals separately. In case he/she develops any symptoms, please ask him/her to seek medical consultation immediately and not to come back to the campus.

Please ensure a high level of hygiene and cleanliness in the office with reference to the “Cleaning Guideline at Emergency Response Level” issued by UHS (Updated on June 5, 2020).