The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) started a new term on Monday under tighter security after?anti-government protests caused serious damage to facilities on its Shatin campus in November last year and forced it to end the first semester of the 2019-20 academic year early.
“I must ask for your patience and understanding in allowing time for the campus to ease back to its former state of diversity and vibrancy,” CUHK vice-chancellor and president Professor Rocky Tuan Sung-chi said in an open letter to?students, colleagues and alumni of the university.
Some locations, including the No. 2 bridge and the Sir Philip Haddon-Cave Sports Field, remain closed, the Hong Kong Economic Journal quoted Tuan as saying.
He stressed, however, that the campus is now safe, noting that?environmental test results have indicated that “the levels of the harmful chemicals tested are all negligible and do not pose danger to human health”.
CUHK announced on Nov. 13 that it had to end the first semester of the current school year early after serious clashes broke out between anti-government protesters and the police, resulting in severe vandalism on its many facilities.
While the campus reopened, barricades were set up and security guards were stationed at an entrance linking the university to the MTR station, RTHK reported.
Students and staff were required to show identification cards before entering the campus, and visitors had to queue up on another line and register their identity details before entering.
Quite a number of students were seen wearing masks amid reports that a mainland student of the university fell ill after visiting Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province, but security staff did not specifically ask them to take off their masks.
“Apart from infrastructural restoration and improvement, I fully acknowledge the greater challenges that lie ahead, regarding the rebuilding of confidence among our own members, our partners, and different stakeholders,” Tuan also said in the letter.
Despite “the series of unfortunate, challenging events in recent months”, the university head said he believes that “these trials and tribulations will instead renew and reinforce our sense of community and resolve to bounce back stronger and more united”.
Meanwhile, because all of its school buses had been seriously damaged during the protests in November, the university said some of the routes of the?school bus service have been temporarily adjusted and outsourced services have been sought.
The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK) also started its second term on Monday.
It said it will continue requiring all students and teaching staff to show their identification cards when entering the campus in Tai Po, given the current social situation and concerns about on-campus security.
Visitors also need to have their identity details registered, EdUHK said.
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