Some parents getting children to mask up in exam season, amid rising Covid-19 infections , Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Some parents getting children to mask up in exam season, amid rising Covid-19 infections

As the number of Covid-19 infections rise, students sitting national examinations are advised to practise personal and social responsibility to protect themselves and others around them.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) said in a note to parents on Tuesday that students can wear face masks at exam venues if they prefer. 

“We will continue to put in place good practices at all examination venues, including wiping down high-touch surfaces and visual screening of students’ well-being,” it said in the message on the Parents Gateway app.

Parents are to inform their child’s school if they test positive for Covid-19 just prior to or during the exams. 

National examinations - the GCE N, O and A levels - are ongoing, with some sessions stretching until mid-November. Primary school pupils are also in the midst of taking their exams. 

The current wave of Covid-19 infections is being driven by the XBB sub-variant, and is expected to peak at an average of 15,000 daily cases by about mid-November.

Some parents said they are taking precautions.

Ms Jasmine Chng, 39, who has two girls aged nine and 11 who are in the middle of their year-end exams, said she gets them to wear masks when they are outside even though they do not have to.

“We’ll just do what we can, based on the lessons learnt from Covid-19, like washing hands, wearing masks, staying home when you are sick,” said the banker. 

Mrs Ivy Goh-Soh, 41, a housewife, who has four daughters aged four to 14, said her main concern is cross-infection in the household .

“With four of them, there’s more exposure and risk of infection.” 

The two older girls have completed their exams, while the Primary 4 daughter has a few more papers in the last week of October. 

During the recent Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) period, three of her daughters fell sick with influenza and had to be “quarantined” in a room at home. 

“Thankfully, my daughter taking PSLE was safe and could finish her papers,” said Mrs Goh-Soh. 

Even with Singapore’s lifting of Covid-19 measures, her family still keeps up habits like washing hands when reaching home, sanitising their hands and wearing masks. 

“With the upcoming Covid-19 wave, we will just continue what we’ve been doing to make sure we don’t add on to the spread of infections,” she said. 

Mrs Susmita Lim, 44, who has a son in Primary 3 and two daughters in Primary 6 and Secondary 2, said she will put her mask back on when going out, and advise her children to do the same.

Her older girl and son both fell sick during their exams in the past month. Her son’s written papers start on Oct 27. 

“As his exams approach, I will start to minimise going out so that he won’t miss the rest of his papers,” said Mrs Lim, who works part-time in regional marketing in an IT services company. 

“He also hasn’t had Covid-19 yet, unlike the other girls, so he’s more prone to the latest variant.” 

“But we’re not really anxious. If anything were to happen, I’m kind of used to it. We’ll just go with the flow,” she added. 

Under the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board’s (SEAB’s) safe management measures for national exams, students who are unwell and have symptoms such as a runny nose, cough or sore throat should see a doctor and not report for the exam.

Students will not be allowed to sit the exam if they have tested positive for Covid-19 in the first 72 hours.

According to SEAB’s website, teachers will be vigilant and ensure that exams are conducted in well-ventilated venues. Candidates who are unwell and missed their examination papers may apply for special consideration.

In awarding a grade, the SEAB will refer to the student’s performance in the subject in the other national and school-based exams, as well as the student’s relative performance to his schoolmates in the same year in the national and school-based exams.