“Learn the lessons that are being shown from this virus.”

― Dr. Michael J. Ryan, WHO

It was January 24 and just before the four-day Chinese New Year festival – Hong Kong’s biggest annual break. The territory should have been gearing up for the holidays, but instead found itself bracing for COVID-19. 

The virus had already stricken neighboring mainland China, and the number of local infections had started to mount.

Amid rumors that a lockdown, including school closures, might be imminent, Ben Chan – who leads Microsoft’s education business in Hong Kong – reached out to scores of teachers and school leaders on social media.

“They were worried that the next semester would not go ahead,” he recalls. “I started seeing a lot of really troubled discussions among some (social media) groups.”

School leaders were confused and uncertain. They were calling out for reliable and secure solutions to empower teachers and students so lessons could go on at home......