SINGAPORE: Jurong Pioneer Junior College will close the school on Monday (Apr 6) and start full home-based learning a day earlier on Tuesday after two canteen vendors tested positive for COVID-19.
In a message to parents on Sunday, the JC said both vendors work in the same stall in the school canteen and were well when they were last in school last Thursday.
Two staff members and other canteen vendors who had been in contact with the infected vendors have been placed on a leave of absence, the school added.
“MOH (Ministry of Health) health experts have advised us that there is minimal risk to staff and students who might have patronised the stall because the contact is transient and the risk of infection through food consumption is also low,” the message read.
The school premises will be closed on Monday for cleaning and disinfection.
“As there is only one more day before the start of full home-based learning on Apr 8, we have decided to bring forward the start of full home-based learning to Apr 7 instead,” the JC added.
Closing the school for two days is an "added precaution", said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post on Monday evening.
The risk of students contracting COVID-19 because of the incident is low, as the vendors did not have symptoms when they were last in school, he said.
In addition, interactions between students and stall operators are "always transient". Consumption of food is also not a common mode of transmission, he added, citing healthcare experts.
"Notwithstanding these, we decided to close the schools for two days as an added precaution, as we are determined to keep the virus out of our school compounds," said Mr Ong.
"This will be our approach moving ahead, beyond the circuit breaker and full (home-based learning) period," he added. "Take additional precautionary measures, including closing a specific school for a couple of days if need be, to keep out the virus and give parents and students greater peace of mind."
Last Friday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that all schools will close from Wednesday and move to home-based learning as part of enhanced measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Students across all levels, from primary school to universities, including those in special education schools, will be on full home-based learning until May 4.
All pre-schools, kindergartens and student care centres will also be closed, but will provide limited services for children of parents who have to work and cannot find caregivers.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) had announced on Mar 27 that home-based learning for one day a week would commence from April, but the move to full home-based learning was announced a week later.
Classes are currently set to resume on May 5, but MOE and the Ministry of Social and Family Development will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation to assess if these measures need to be prolonged.