Some schools move to home-based learning after Covid cases
Students and staff testing positive in tandem with rise in community cases: Education Ministry
She was unfazed when she received a letter from her Primary 4 daughter's school, Raffles Girls', stating that a Primary 1 pupil had tested positive for Covid-19.
The 38-year-old sales director, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Yang, told The New Paper: "It didn't come as a shock to me because Covid-19 has been around for some time, and I guess cases are inevitable."
According to a circular sent to parents and seen by TNP, the Primary 1 pupil was well when she was last in school last Friday.
Raffles Girls' Primary School shifted to home-based learning (HBL) on Monday and lessons in school resumed yesterday for Primary 2 to Primary 6 pupils.
The circular did not indicate when Primary 1 pupils will return to school.
"I wasn't too worried because I know my daughter can take care of herself," added Mrs Yang, who also has a son in kindergarten.
TNP also saw circulars sent to parents of children in other schools, including Yuying Secondary School, Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road) and Xingnan Primary School, after some of their students tested positive for Covid-19.
Most of the schools shifted to HBL for a few days, and thorough disinfection of the compounds was carried out.
Responding to queries, the Ministry of Education said the number of days allocated for cleaning and disinfection as well as the number of days schools are closed for HBL are determined on a case-by-case basis.
Students and staff have tested positive for Covid-19 "in tandem with the increase in community cases in the past weeks", said the ministry.
It added that the students who tested positive have mild symptoms and are all recovering well.
"Students and staff who have been put under the Ministry of Health's Health Risk Warning (HRW) will be placed on Approved Absence (AA) and will be allowed to return to school only after their exit polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test result is negative.
"If their household members get placed on HRW, students and staff will be placed on AA and may return to school after their household member's entry PCR swab test result is negative," said a ministry spokesman.
Students and staff who have been put under Health Risk Alert can return to school but should limit their social interactions as an added precaution, monitor their health and see a doctor promptly if they feel unwell.
As at Monday, more than 320,000 eligible students - or around 99.6 per cent - have registered for vaccination, of whom about 92 per cent have received their first dose and 58 per cent have had both doses, said the ministry.
Dr Jason Tan, associate professor in the policy, curriculum and leadership academic group at the National Institute of Education, told TNP: "I understand it can be extremely frustrating for parents because of the unpredictability and uncertainty of the situation, but the schools are doing what they can to minimise disruptions in learning."
He added that HBL is "not a perfect substitute" for physical lessons, which is why schools are striking a balance between keeping the students safe while ensuring minimal interference to their learning.
"It is a collective hope that this pandemic will soon be manageable enough to allow minimal disruptions in learning and teaching in schools, but for now, parents will have to take things in their stride," said Dr Tan.