Primary School Pupils Will Get ART Kits In 1st Week Of Term 4
The last time children were in school was on 2 Sep, before Teachers’ Day and the subsequent 1-week school holiday.
On that day, Singapore reported 187 community cases, but the number has since risen exponentially to 555 cases on Saturday (11 Sep).
Hence, parents might be apprehensive about sending their children back to school on Monday (13 Sep).
To help matters, all Primary School pupils will be issued 3 self-test kits in the 1st week of school.
Families have also been encouraged to help pupils swab themselves at home.
Stepped up efforts to keep schools safe
In a Facebook post on Sunday (12 Sep), Education Minister Chan Chun Sing noted that the increase in Covid-19 cases means efforts must be stepped up to keep schools safe.
He then outlined a 4-pronged approach.
The 1st step is to enhance testing, which is why the Antigen Rapid Test (ART) kits will be distributed.
All Primary School pupils should get them in the 1st week of Term 4, he said.
1st ART to be done at home
Mr Chan encouraged families to help pupils use the 1st ART kit this week.
This swab will be done at home, and serve as a “one-time sweep” for all pupils, he added.
It’ll help assure one another that our children are safe.
2 more ART kits for the future
The other 2 ART kits are for “future contingencies”, Mr Chan said.
That means the authorities may request for pupils to be tested again in time to come.
This will help to further reduce the risk of the virus spreading in schools, he added.
Children shouldn’t go to school if unwell
Mr Chan also said something that parents should know by now, but bears repeating.
Children should not be sent to school if they are unwell.
If the child is well, but a family member is under quarantine or mandatory isolation, the child shouldn’t be in school either.
Safe management measures to continue
The 3rd and 4th measures are what schools have already been doing.
Safe management measures (SMMs) will still be followed, including checking in via TraceTogether, wearing masks, and practising good hygiene.
Co-curricular activities (CCA) will continue to be suspended.
When Covid-19 cases are identified, they and their close contacts will be isolated from the rest of the students and staff.
This will allow children to keep up with their learning in a safe manner with minimal disruption and minimise transmission risks, Mr Chan said.
We must remain vigilant: Chan
The minister assured that so far, the children who’ve contracted Covid-19 “have relatively mild symptoms”.
However, we must remain vigilant. After all, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday (10 Sep) that more children are getting infected due to the Delta Variant.
Mr Chan also urged people to get vaccinated to protect children who can’t be vaccinated yet.
Important to feel safe in school
As children prepare to go back to school tomorrow, it’s important for them and their parents to feel that they’re safe.
Thus, after getting the ART self-test kits, why not use 1 of them to get used to the procedure. After all, it might become quite a regular thing soon.
And as always, pupils should remember to practise good safe distancing habits to protect themselves, their schoolmates, teachers and families.
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