Pupils and parents were caught out on Tuesday morning as the Education Bureau cancelled classes whilst many students were already en route to school. At 7:49am, classes at all whole-day schools and morning schools were cancelled due to the red rainstorm. The signal was hoisted by the Hong Kong Observatory at 7:35am and, as of 9:35am, it was lowered to a yellow rainstorm signal.
Some teachers and parents complained online that students had already begun making their way to, or had arrived at, school.
“My daughter was halfway to school when the red rainstorm was hoisted. Would it kill them to hoist it half an hour earlier[?] I am really angry. The point is that my daughter is all wet, even having an umbrella is no use,” said Kaka Li, a parent posting on Facebook.
“My school bell rings at 7:55am. The Education Bureau announces at 7:50am that there was no need to hold classes. Thanks,” a teacher in Wong Tai Sin said in another post.
Another commenter, Fanny Lui said: “[My daughter] got on the school bus at 7:30, the uncle called at 7:46 to ask me to pick my daughter up. I’m angry, but it’s lucky I don’t have to work today.”
Kevin Yeung Yun-hung,Under Secretary for Education, said on an RTHK radio show that it “has always been difficult deciding which time is better” for cancelling classes. He said that he too “did not want students to go to class all wet [as] it is uncomfortable.”
Elsewhere, traffic was congested and roads in Yuen Long were flooded.
The weather is expected to be rainy through next Wednesday with temperatures remaining in the high twenties.
Humidity levels will also remain above 70% throughout the week.