School Reopening: Can Singapore Show the Way?

Reopening schools in COVID-19 affected countries will require many considerations. What can countries like Hong Kong, Vietnam and the UAE learn from Singapore where schools have stayed open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?
This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19
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This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19

We know that many children are becoming anxious about COVID-19. What can schools learn from other countries in terms of supporting children's wellbeing during these unsettling times?

The EtonHouse group of schools in Singapore has produced this wellbeing guide for students

With the spread of COVID-19 dominating the news, schools play a key role in ensuring that student anxiety levels don’t rise. A YouGov/Cognita poll found that 80% of British children aged six to 15 are worried about COVID-19, rising to 93% in 12-year-olds – so there is cause for concern.

UNICEF is urging schools – whether open or helping students through remote learning – to provide students with holistic support. “Schools should provide children with vital information on handwashing and other measures to protect themselves and their families; facilitate mental health support; and help to prevent stigma and discrimination by encouraging students to be kind to each other and avoid stereotypes when talking about the virus.”

Many schools across Singapore are sharing advice for parents such as this factsheet from the WHO.

Cognita’s Education and Wellbeing team – which oversees schools including AIS and SAIS in Singapore – has put together top tips for parents who are concerned about the impact that this might be having on their children.

And Singapore’s EtonHouse group, which owns international schools including EtonHouse (Orchard), Middleton International School (Tampines), EtonHouse International School (Broadrick), has published a book for its students about Coronavirus. Available in hard and soft copies, A New Virus Has Arrived is a bilingual guide for children of all ages that “explains the Coronavirus to children in a sensitive and meaningful way”.

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