Schools Step Up Covid-19 Measures To Ensure Safety For All Staff & Students

As there have been several Covid-19 infected cases that popped up in schools, authorities have been stepping up safety measures.

Recently, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing posted on Facebook to explain how the Ministry of Education (MOE) is stepping up safety measures for schools.

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So far, MOE has implemented full Home-based Learning (HBL) twice as part of national efforts to reduce physical interaction between staff and students.

Though Mr Chan acknowledged that HBL was rather disruptive, he wanted to thank all parents, staff, and students for cooperating.

Moving forward, MOE plans to implement targetted safety measures to reduce disruptions for all parties in the future.

Students placed under Home Based Learning as a precaution

In his lengthy post, Mr Chan shared that 216 out of 600,000 students have tested positive for Covid-19 between May and July 2021.

Of the 216, 103 were primary school students.

Previously, MOE would implement HBL for entire cohorts whenever positive Covid-19 cases surfaced in schools.

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As a result, they have had to place 100 levels across 50 schools on HBL over the past 3 months, which affected over 20,000 students.

Families have also claimed disruption to schedules as parents may have to take turns staying home to supervise their children.

Targetted safety measures for schools

As Singapore moves towards treating the virus as endemic, MOE has decided to take on a more targetted approach to reduce disruptions.

Since early August, only students and staff from the same class, CCA or any other close contact of infected patients will be placed under Leave of Absence (LOA) or Quarantine Order (QO).

Additionally, MOE hopes to expand options for less-invasive testing methods to further reduce disruptions. Test results will allow schools to gauge who should be isolated and for how long.

Regular, self-administered Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) for example, will allow students and staff who test negative to return to school earlier.

Future Covid-19 safety measures for school students & staff

From 1 Oct, all schools will be placed under the new “Vaccinate or Regular Test” regime. This will help to ensure that schools remain a safe environment for all.

Under the regime, all unvaccinated teachers and staff in schools will have to undergo ART testing twice every week.

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The regime also applies to non-government employees who may have regular contact with students below the age of 12. Tuition and enrichment centres will similarly have to adopt the new regime.

With the new measures, Mr Chan hopes that families will cooperate with MOE to fight against the pandemic. Should parents notice that they or their children are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, they must remember to self-isolate and see a doctor.

Due to the infectious nature of the current Delta variant, teachers and staff should continue to be vigilant. Students who display even mild symptoms will be sent home immediately.

Hope we’ll emerge stronger as a nation

Though these targetted measures will not ensure zero cases, MOE hopes that they will reduce the possibility.

They will continue to keep an eye on the situation in schools to ensure a safe learning environment for all.

Outside of school, however, the responsibility still lies on the part of students, parents, and the general public to adhere to the most updated Covid-19 measures.

If everyone plays their part diligently, we can hopefully emerge from this period stronger as a nation.

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Featured image adapted from Ministry of Education on Facebook.