Letter to Lingnanians
23 April 2022
In the few months since my last letter to the Lingnan community, Hong Kong has been ravaged by the fifth wave of COVID-19, with more than a million infection cases and a sad dramatic rise in the death toll. As we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, I hope that all Lingnanians will remain safe and healthy.
The second term of this academic year will end in a few weeks. It is evident that our COVID-19 preventive measures have proven to be effective in mitigating the negative impact of the evolving pandemic on our campus. Since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, members of the Lingnan community have demonstrated immense resilience and diligence in the face of adversity. Their patience, understanding and cooperation, particularly in the past few months, are greatly appreciated.
Throughout this difficulty period, the University has striven to keep its campus, staff and students safe. During the recent outbreak, we stepped up campus entry requirements and took other necessary precautionary measures especially at our hostels, with health advice and guidelines being updated timely in line with the pandemic situation. To strike a balance between education quality and campus safety, we have sustained face-to-face and hybrid teaching and learning activities as far as possible until the fifth wave gave us no other choices but to move classes fully online. Similarly, our staff’s work arrangements have evolved with the pandemic. By adopting work from home and other flexible work arrangements, we were able to ensure our staff’s safety while maintaining essential services.
The hostels warrant a special mention because the great majority of our undergraduate students plus some postgraduates live on campus. As the pandemic went from bad to worse during the fifth wave, each hostel has designated special quarantine floors and rooms for residents tested positive and did not have a home or a safe place to undergo quarantine. Thanks to the understanding and cooperation of our residents, staff in the Wardens’ offices, Office of Student Affairs, the Lingnan House and our security and cleaning teams, infected students were given proper care and have now fully recovered.
I am also proud to see that the University has stood firm in its commitment to serving society during such a difficult period. Here are a couple of examples. First, our ageing studies project team launched an Anti-COVID-19 video series in March 2022 to help the public and the elderly to fight the virus with practical knowledge as well as physical and mental health advice, and to maintain a positive attitude throughout. Second, this month witnessed the delivery of 10,000 pieces of 12° Masks, designed for the hearing-impaired by the Lingnan Entrepreneurship Initiative (LEI), to deaf communities, sign language interpreters, SEN schools, NGOs, and other non-profit organisations. Lingnan is stepping up its fundraising efforts in order to make the fully
transparent mask available to all primary and kindergarten school teachers in Hong Kong.
The 12° Mask has won the Gold award at the MUSE Design Awards 2021 and the Silver Award at the 48th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva. Another LEI invention, the CREW Wheelchair, a power-assisted wheelchair control system designed for caregivers, won the Gold award at the same international exhibition in Geneva. Lingnan’s application-oriented research has touched many lives amid the pandemic and contributed to making the world a better place. These humanitarian inventions have brought me great pride and joy.
As the fifth wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong has subsided gradually in recent weeks, the University has decided to resume its normal business and operations from 21 April, in line with the Government’s arrangements. As we head towards the summer term and the subsequent 2022/23 academic year, I wish to provide an update on the key measures Lingnan will take to ensure that all our members will remain healthy and safe.
(1) Continued requirement of the Vaccine Pass and use of LeaveHomeSafe mobile app for campus access.
(2) Until further notice, the campus will continue to be open to current LU staff, students and registered visitors only.
(3) Thorough inspections of ventilation systems to assure indoor air quality.
The health and safety of everyone at Lingnan is always the highest priority of our COVID-19 strategy and will continue to guide all our future decisions. As always, we will closely monitor the latest development of the pandemic, and quickly adapt and align our strategy accordingly.
I look forward to seeing you all back on campus and working closely with you to make Lingnan your choice of work and study. Stay healthy and wish you all the best.
Leonard K Cheng
23 April 2022