MOE: No Need to Delay Schools Reopening

As students return to school today after the Chinese New Year holiday, the Ministry of Education says there is "currently no evidence of community spread of the virus in Singapore".
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

The Ministry of Education says that all schools in Singapore can reopen as normal after the Chinese New Year holiday. The MOE did consider closing schools for seven or 14 days, which has been done in Hong Kong. However, after taking advice from medical experts, the MOE "concluded that it is not necessary to do so, because there is currently no evidence of community spread of the virus in Singapore".

There have been nearly 6,000 confirmed cases of the respiratory illness worldwide since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China last December; 132 people have died. There are now seven confirmed cases of the virus in Singapore to date.

The Ministry of Education has imposed a compulsory leave of absence for all students and staff at local schools returning from Mainland China. All other students at local and international schools and pre-schools in Singapore returned to classes today after the CNY break. 

In Hong Kong, all schools, including local and international kindergartens, primary, secondary and special schools, will stay closed until February 17. The Chinese New Year holiday has been extended by two weeks as Hong Kong raises its response level to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak to "emergency".

In an FAQ post on its website today (Wednesday), the MOE said:

 "Ours is a different situation compared to Hong Kong's. Hong Kong is closer to the epicentre of the Wuhan virus outbreak and is closely connected to Mainland China.

"The number of students and staff returning from Mainland China are likely to be many times ours.

We assessed that the number of students and staff returning from China recently is manageable, and a 14-day Leave of Absence (LOA) will be more targeted, while allowing schools to open and life carry on as normally as possible, which is an important aspect to safeguard in an emergency situation."

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