Singapore — Although many expressed support in response to Education Minister Ong Ye Kung’s recent video message to teachers on the eve of the reopening of schools, a few had lingering concerns about the safety of their children from the Covid-19 virus.
While countries around the world have put off the resumption of classes because of Covid-19, and in the midst of reports of South Korea closing schools again after another spike in cases, Singapore has resumed classes with a new rotation system and heightened safety measures.
In his Facebook video on Monday (June 1), Mr Ong reminded teachers of the importance of ensuring that schools were safe for children.
“You have done so much to keep our schools safe so far, and tomorrow, we all know parents or maybe even students themselves will have some apprehension,” he said. “And it is now upon us — all of us — to make sure that schools continue to be safe so that parents can have peace of mind to leave their kids with us while they go to work, and understand that as we exit (the) Circuit Breaker, more and more students will go out, and it’s much better for them to come to school.”
Mr Ong told teachers that, if they are sick, they will not be required to go to school. The same applies for teachers who are taking care of a family member who is sick. The minister gave the assurance that their principals and colleagues will cover for them in their work during these times.
Many of those commenting on the video backed Mr Ong and his message. There were, however, those who remained concerned about the reopening of the schools.
Photo: Screengrab from Facebook comments / Ong Ye Kung
One parent who was concerned over the safety of her children said that she understood that “the country cannot be shut off permanently”.
However, another cited the case of South Korea, which had to close schools again due to a spike in cases. “We shouldn’t be making decisions based on probabilities, especially when it’s about the lives of children … our children,” he said.
One person asked why children were going to school at a time when employees were still being encouraged to work from home.