New safety measures to protect students from coronavirus
Orientation activites also scaled back to tackle virus outbreak
Students across Singapore saw new measures implemented yesterday in the light of the coronavirus outbreak, including suspended mass assemblies and staggered recess times.
The National Anthem was broadcast over schools' public address systems and students recited the pledge in their classrooms instead of the school hall or parade square.
The new measures, announced by the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Tuesday evening, come on top of enhanced steps such as daily temperature taking implemented last week.
Primary and secondary schools, special education schools, junior colleges and the Millennia Institute were among those implementing the new measures.
The MOE and the Ministry of Social and Family Development said the measures to minimise gatherings of students in large numbers are aimed at protecting students and staff from the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan.
Some schools have implemented other measures.
Nanyang Primary on Tuesday night informed parents through the Parents Gateway app that recess would be held in the classrooms. Parents were asked to pack food for their children.
Housewife Elaine Chiam, 47, whose daughter is in the school, told The Straits Times it was a good measure.
She said children were also asked yesterday to pick up biscuits and other snacks from the school's general office in case their parents had missed the message.
Housewife Dadina Ong, 43, who has a son in Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), said that parents entering the school from yesterday were asked to take their temperature at the guardhouse.
Mrs Ong said: "The schools are trying to make the situation more manageable and reduce human traffic to make it safer for children."
Orientation activities in junior colleges were also affected yesterday, which was the first day of school for first-year students.
JC1 student at Yishun Innova Junior College Rachel Lee, 19, said she was told to report to school three hours later at 10.30am. School also ended three hours early at 2.30pm.
"I think our orientation was cut short... Our principal explained during his address that there were last-minute changes made due to the news regarding the virus," she said.
At National Junior College, a student who declined to be named said the orientation period had been cut by one day and would end next Tuesday. A spokesman for the school said it had pared down the activities.
"(They're the) same games but scaled down, so instead of the whole cohort playing in the same venue, smaller groups played the same game but in smaller venues."