Singapore's Spring Break: Can Students Travel?

With spring break due to start at some schools in Singapore from next Monday, make sure you are aware of the Covid-19 restrictions on travel overseas.
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

As schools in Singapore prepare for the spring break, should you be getting on a plane? It's just one week until Term 2 ends for some international schools, and anyone planning on taking a holiday overseas should be prepared to declare their travel plans.

The Ministry of Education has asked all students to declare all completed and planned travel to all countries between February 1 and July 31 2020. This will ensure that schools can respond in cases of student travel to any countries where new outbreaks of Covid-19 may arise.

And Singapore's multi-ministry taskforce, which was set up to control the spread of Covid-19 has issued travel advisories for non-essential travel to various countries, including Mainland China (outside of Hubei), Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea, Iran and Northern Italy.

Co-chairman of the taskforce, national development minister Lawrence Wong, said: 

"If there are no travel advisories, it is really up to the individuals to decide if they wish to go overseas, and if they do, to make sure they take all the necessary precautions – be vigilant, be mindful, try to avoid large crowds, and avoid contact with people around you who may seem unwell.

"If the virus continues to spread and the number of cases continues to rise in Singapore, we do have other actions, measures and tools we can make use of."

Mr Wong also reassured residents that the government will take further action, such as "more social distancing measures at some stage, be it at schools or workplaces", if the virus continues to spread and the number of cases continues to rise in Singapore.

The general feeling in Singapore seems to be to stay home, where families can take advantage of staycation deals or sign their child up for a spring camp.

Paul Adamberry, director of marketing communications & admissions at ISS International School said: 

"Due to the deferment of non-essential travel we believe the majority of our families will stay within Singapore for the holidays. ISS runs ISS Discovery School: Spring between March 23 and April 3 and over the past two weeks have seen an increase in sign-up to this holiday programme.

"At ISS Discovery School: Spring we are running smaller class sizes and ensuring regular temperature checking and increased hygiene standards such as cleaning, disinfecting and reminders to frequently wash hands etc. to mitigate any perceptions of risk during this time of uncertainty."

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise in Singapore, some countries including Thailand have issued travel advisories against air travel to and from Singapore.

Are you planning to go away for the spring break? Here's what you need to know:

  • All new visitors with recent travel history to Mainland China, Iran, Northern Italy and Republic of Korea within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or to transit through Singapore
  • All travellers entering Singapore with fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness may be required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the airport checkpoint

International schools require all families to comply with the following:

  • Anyone with travel history to Mainland China (outside of Hubei), Daegu and Cheongdo in South Korea, Iran or Northern Italy within the last 14 days will be served a Stay at Home notice. You must remain at home at all times.
  • All visitors must complete a Visitor Declaration form and temperature check before entering campus

Schools have sent out messages to parents to alert them to recent changes to travel advice, and many are discouraging overseas travel.

Margaret Alvarez, head of school at ISS International School said: "ISS strongly recommends against travel to these countries during the upcoming Spring Break and for the duration of the restrictions.

"In particular, students that have external examinations in May – MYP assessments and IB Diploma examinations – are very strongly advised not to travel to these countries as the disruption to studies on their return is likely to be detrimental. Please remember that ISS also requires students that have a member of their household with a travel history to restricted countries to stay at home for 14 days.

Are spring camps open for the school holidays?

If you're staying in Singapore, there is still a choice of sport and arts activities to keep the children entertained this spring break. Several spring camps will run from Monday, March 14 onwards at public venues and school campuses, with reduced group sizes and under strict conditions.

  • They must be approved by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education to be open 
  • All children attending camp will have their temperature twice every day, and any child above 37.5 degrees will be asked to return home
  • Children (or close family) who have travelled to Mainland China in the last 14 days or been in contact with someone infected with Coronavirus will not be able to attend
  • All visitors will be required to submit a signed travel declaration detailing all travel plans between January 14, 2020 and March 31, 2020.
  • Children with fever, sore throat, cough, cold, difficulty of breathing or any other flu symptoms will not be able to attend
  • There will be staggered lunch times and breaks

Camps are running at clubs including Sport4Kids, Camp Asia, Centaurs Kids, Play2See, Whizzkidz, Cosmo United Football Academy, and Saturday Kids. 

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