53 Nanyang Primary students down with flu symptoms; school switches to home-based learning for some classes
In a letter to parents, principal Wong Li Peng says she strongly encourages mask-wearing in school for the week.
SINGAPORE: Nanyang Primary School has placed some classes on home-based learning after several cases of fever, cough and sore throat were detected over the past few days.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said that as of Jan 31, 12pm, 55 cases from Nanyang Primary School were "verified to have acute respiratory symptoms such as fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat".
Of these, 53 are students and two are staff. Two students were hospitalised but have since been discharged, said MOH on Tuesday (Jan 31) in response to CNA's queries.
"Based on available information from the school, none of the cases have tested positive for COVID-19, and some have tested positive for influenza," the ministry added.
MOH also said it was advising the school on infection control measures.
In a letter addressed to parents of children in the affected classes, principal Wong Li Peng said home-based learning will be conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday.
She said the school will ensure that affected areas and common areas are cleaned and disinfected appropriately.
Students are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible during home-based learning and avoid meeting up with classmates, wrote Mdm Wong.
CASES DETECTED SINCE THURSDAY
In a separate WhatsApp chat seen by CNA, a message signed off by Mdm Wong said that the school detected cases of fever, cough and sore throat in two classes last Friday.
The school cleaned and disinfected the affected classrooms on the same day, she added.
A subsequent message in the chat said: "We understand there are students from a number of classes across levels who are down with flu symptoms. We are also aware it started since Thursday."
In another letter to parents on Monday, Mdm Wong said the school strongly encourages mask-wearing in school for the week.
She urged parents and students to continue playing their part by being socially responsible.
"If your child is unwell, he/she should seek medical attention and rest at home until the expiry of his/her medical leave," she said.
Classrooms and common areas will be cleaned and disinfected appropriately, said Mdm Wong, adding that students will be reminded in class to carry out good hygiene practices, such as a wipe-down routine and frequent washing of hands.
"You may wish to do likewise when they are at home," she said in her letter.
"The safety of our children is of utmost importance and we will do the necessary to ensure that all the precautionary measures are taken to safeguard their well-being," she added.
Mdm Wong also reminded parents not to circulate any unconfirmed information.
"NOT TOO WORRIED"
Mr Tan Kane Juan, a parent whose daughter studies in the school, said the 7-year-old has been given a three-day leave of absence by a doctor after falling ill on Sunday.
Mr Tan said he was not surprised as news of the virus had already been circulated in a parents’ WhatsApp group last week.
“On Friday, after we picked her up from school, we were getting lots of messages in the group chat about kids getting sick. So we kind of expected she would get it too because it seemed quite rampant,” he said.
His daughter suffered from a sore throat, dizziness and slight fever, Mr Tan said. She took two COVID-19 tests and both returned negative results.
Subsequently, Mr Tan’s younger daughter, who does not go to Nanyang Primary School, also caught the virus and started having a runny nose on Monday.
Mr Tan said he is not worried as his daughters' symptoms are mild and he is confident the school has taken the necessary steps to ensure pupils are safe.
“I think the school handled it well. I’m perfectly fine sending my daughter back to school, I’m not too worried about it,” he said.
On Tuesday, MOH noted that the number of influenza cases in Singapore in the past four weeks has remained stable.
"Singapore's influenza activity typically increases in the middle of the year (May to July) and end of the year (November to January)," said the ministry.
"While influenza is not a notifiable disease, MOH routinely monitors influenza through sentinel surveillance such as the average daily number of patients seeking treatment in the polyclinics for Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI)."
The ministry advised the public to maintain good hygiene by washing their hands regularly. Those who are unwell should seek medical treatment promptly, wear a mask when going out and avoid close contact with others, said MOH.
CNA has contacted the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Nanyang Primary School for more information.