In the past three months, Singapore has reported an increase in cases of COVID 19 in children. According to The Straits Times report, 129 students and 17 school staff have tested positive for coronavirus in this time span.
Education Minister, Mr Chan Chun Sing recently addressed the concerns of several parents over the same.
Cases Of COVID-19 In Children Increase But "Schools Remain Safe For Learning"
Image courtesy: File photo
In a Facebook post, Mr Chan said that the number of infected people includes around 0.03% of the total student population from primary to pre-university levels.
Inspite of the rising numbers, he assured people that schools remain safe places for learning.
He highlighted the several stringent measures are being taken to minimise the transmission.
"Surveillance measures are being used to detect potential coronavirus positive cases, we are also using ring-fencing measures like MOE's leave of absence to keep the potential cases out of school," said Mr Chan.
Punggol Primary School cluster increases to 12 cases
Mr Chan's update is at the back of the emergence of a cluster of cases in Punggol Primary School, which was first identified on Tuesday. The cluster grew to 12 cases on Thursday, according to MOH.
Proper sanitisation and disinfection were done inside the premises before the school opened for taking mandatory swab tests for all the pupils and staff on Thursday and Friday. Home-based Learning (HBL) was also implemented for all the students; from July 29 to August 6.
The Ministry also urged students and staff to seek immediate help if they developed any symptoms or were feeling unwell. In the meantime, he said that they should continue to follow good hygiene and all the other COVID-19 guidelines.
Mixed Reviews From Parents On Full Home-Based Learning
Image courtesy: Mr Chan Chun Sing /Facebook
The Minister further stated that he has received mixed reviews from parents on full home-based learning. While some are keen on the transition, there are others who are not in favour of it.
He spoke about how not all students have a conducive environment for HBL. "Full HBL on a prolonged basis comes at a significant cost to our students’ learning, and socio-emotional and mental well-being," he pointed in his post.
In such a scenario, parents will have to run to make alternative arrangements that may not be safe for kids. Also, teachers on the other hand are also juggling the additional load of preparing and conducting classes and also taking care of their families.
He noted that Singapore is unlikely to have zero community cases in the short-term and vaccination for young kids is currently not available. Plus, full HBL will not be considered unless it is absolutely necessary.
MOE's Plan Amid Rising Cases Of COVID-19 In Children
MOE will continue to adopt a targeted approach to deal with rising COVID-19 cases in schools. Mr Chan shared that the decision was taken looking at the nature of the virus.
This means that whenever there is a positive case in school, authorities will isolate those who are in close contact with the positive case through LOA or quarantine order.
However, in exceptional cases MOE will put the entire school on HBL to break any chance of possible transmission. It will further give time to MOH to test and investigate the cases before reopening the school.
He said, "We will continue to monitor the situation closely and review if any adjustment is needed in line with national guidelines, especially as we transit towards managing Covid-19 as an endemic disease."
As you may know, Singapore reported 131 new locally transmitted coronavirus cases as of July 30. The Jurong Fishery Port cluster, on the other hand, has jumped to 997 cases. It continues to be the largest active cluster in the country.
The country is in its second week of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures and has reported a total of 64,861 coronavirus cases.
While the government is trying to introduce strict measures to curb the rising infection, it is very important that we as citizens also follow the rules. Here are some precautions, we are sharing just as a reminder.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Carry sanitiser with you when you step out of your home.
- Even if you are vaccinated, always wear your masks.
- Don't believe in rumours, pay heed to only official communication from the government.
- Strengthen your immunity by eating right.
- Exercise daily.
- Wear masks.
- Stay in ventilated rooms.
- Avoid crowds and maintain social distancing.
Stay safe and don't let your guard down!
News source: The Strait Times, CNA
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