Covid: No Guarantee Schools Won't Be Closed

Singapore government says it cannot rule out school closures after the spring break as it steps up measures to control the spread of Covid-19. Parents would be given "lead time" to prepare in the case schools were closed.
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

Temporary school closures and suspending public events may be considered as part of new social distancing measures, the government said today (Tuesday). There are no immediate plans to extend the spring break and parents will be given sufficient lead time before any closures are announced.

Singapore's local schools will be on holiday from March 14-22; many international schools break up from March 14 onwards for a two-week holiday.

At a briefing today (Tuesday) Singapore's national development minister Lawrence Wong said: “School closures impact many people, and we will need to provide lead time. We can’t just do it overnight.

“The March school holiday is upon us and, on that basis, it will not be changed. The holiday remains as it is. Beyond that, I cannot rule out school closures or other measures. If we do put them in place, we will put in lead time to help parents make arrangements for the caregiving of their children."

All local and international schools in Singapore have remained open since the outbreak of Covid-19 was first announced, but strict precautionary measures have been implemented at every campus in line with the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education. These include daily temperature checks, restriction of visitors, and the suspension of large group and communal activities.

The MOE has now stepped up precautionary measures for schools and said that all checks now apply to vendors, including canteen vendors, cleaners, security guards, KCare and Student Care Centre staff.

It says: "Vendors who operate outside schools, such as school bus vendors and coaches, have also been advised to adopt good personal hygiene practices and seek immediate medical attention should they feel unwell. Vendors are required to inform the school should they or any of their staff go on medical leave/QO/LOA/SHN."

Meanwhile, the government has suspended all social activities for the elderly that are conducted by government agencies for 14 days from March 11-24. This follows a growing number of infections in Singapore; the city-state has reported 166 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 93 people recovered and discharged from hospital.

Read more:
Travel restrictions during the school holidays

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