Raffles Institution, MOE Language Centre (Bishan) to suspend classes for a day after student tests positive for COVID-19

Raffles Institution, MOE Language Centre (Bishan) to suspend classes for a day after student tests positive for COVID-19

Raffles Institution campus 2
File photo of Raffles Institution. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos) 

SINGAPORE: Raffles Institution (RI) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) Language Centre in Bishan will close for one day on Friday (Feb 28) for thorough cleaning and disinfecting, after a 12-year-old student tested positive for COVID-19.

RI will suspend school for students from Year 1 to 6 to conduct a through cleaning and disinfecting of the school premises, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a press release on Thursday.

Similarly, the MOE Language Centre in Bishan where the student attended classes will also be suspended on Friday for cleaning, the ministry said.

Classes at RI and the language centre will resume on Monday.

The Year 1 Singaporean student is one of three confirmed COVID-19 cases announced by the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday. Singapore now has 96 cases.

He is linked to a family member - Case 94 - a 64-year-old woman with no travel history to China or South Korea's Daegu and Cheongdo.

He became unwell on Feb 21 and was diagnosed with the infection on Feb 27. He is currently warded in an isolation room at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

"It is good that the student was very considerate and did not go to school when he felt unwell," said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post.

Mr Ong said that RI principal Frederick Yeo has spoken to the student, who is "feeling well and in good spirits".

"We wish him and his family a speedy recovery," Mr Ong added.

In response to CNA queries, Mr Yeo said on Friday the mother of the student said he was "feeling well".

He added that "additional attention" was given to areas where the student had spent some time in or frequented, such as his classroom and the canteen. 

"In addition to the current precautionary measures, we have enhanced our social distancing measures," he said.

"This includes instituting fixed or alternate seating in the classrooms, minimising group work during lessons and replacing the lectures for our Year 5-6 students with tutorial-based learning."

CCAs have been suspended for two weeks, and all inter-school activities and activities at external venues have also been cancelled earlier.

"For students in our boarding facilities, there are measures like temperature taking and visual screening to ensure their wellbeing," he said.

He added that parents were "understandably anxious", but "generally supportive of the measures" the school has taken.

Explore our interactive: All the COVID-19 cases in Singapore and the clusters and links

STUDENT WENT TO RI ON FEB 21, LANGUAGE CENTRE ON FEB 20

The student was last at RI on Feb 21, and had attended a class at the Bishan language centre on Feb 20.

All students, teachers and staff who have been in recent contact with the student will be issued a 14-day Leave of Absence, said MOE. Contact tracing is ongoing.

Students on LOA will be supported through Home-Based Learning plans, MOE told CNA on Friday. Teachers can also use a designated online platform to support affected students, and assign work from textbooks and workbooks to help the affected students keep up with their school work. 

"These measures will provide another layer of protection for RI, in addition to the earlier precautionary measures that MOE had announced for the entire school system," said the ministry in a press release.

READ: Commentary - Three scenarios if the COVID-19 outbreak gets worse

On Feb 4, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that schools and pre-schools in Singapore would suspend large gatherings as a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, after the country's first local transmissions.

Singapore's schools also suspended mass assemblies, staggered recess times, cancelled camps and introduced visitor management.

"MOE will continue to monitor the situation closely," the ministry said.

"We also urge all students and staff to continue practising good personal hygiene. This includes washing their hands frequently with soap, wearing a surgical mask if they have a cough or runny nose to prevent infecting others, and seeing a doctor if they are sick and returning to school only when fully recovered," it added.

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Source: CNA/nh(aj)

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