Schools To Reopen As Planned On 23 Mar With Precautionary Measures In Place

The daily rise in Covid-19 cases in Singapore is sending palpable waves of concern among residents.

Parents, especially, are anxious as schools are set to reopen tomorrow (23 Mar) after a week-long holiday.

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Hoping to address their worries, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung wrote a long Facebook post explaining why school will continue as per normal.

You can read his post in full here, but we’ll help summarise the gist of it.

Covid-19 doesn’t affect the young as much as adults

Revealing that many parents and students have sent him emails and messages, Mr Ong who replied to all of them decided to publicly clarify the general queries.

He explains that the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) decision to reopen schools rests on 3 fundamental reasons.

The first is scientific evidence that “COVID-19 does not affect the young very much as compared to adults.”

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Citing advice from a professor who chairs the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network, Mr Ong pointed out how young students who have contracted Covid-19 in Singapore so far were all infected outside of school.

You can read Professor Dale Fisher’s explanation in his interview with The Straits Times here.

Closing schools may not guarantee them staying at home, as students can still roam around outside freely.

Spending time in school will thus be better for them, especially with strict precautionary measures in place.

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All activities are arranged with great caution, to ensure they only mingle with a limited number of fellow students.

School closure might disrupt working parents’ routines

According to Mr Ong, an abrupt closure may also affect working parents who have no alternative care arrangements for their children.

Frontline and service workers in particular will probably appreciate their children being in “a safe and healthy environment”.

For these families, sending their children to school may give them peace of mind.

Sound precautionary measures in place when schools reopen

Theories aside, Mr Ong listed the precautionary measures that’ll be in place, to assure parents that their children will be safe.

  • All students and staff including canteen vendors who have been overseas recently cannot enter school premises until their Stay-Home Notices have ended
  • Compulsory travel declaration to happen at school entrances
  • Students to only mingle with classmates, and CCA mates (after 2 weeks)
  • Any student who is unwell to be sent to isolation rooms or straight home
  • Exam-like seating arrangements in class

With these measures, as well as constant hygiene reminders, Mr Ong is confident that schools can continue as normal.

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Whether these reasons are enough is divided for now, but we hope that this is the right step forward.

Featured image adapted from Facebook and YouTube.