Students, teachers coping with mask wearing
For students who returned to school yesterday, recess was not just a break from class, but a break from having to wear face masks as well.
Primary 6 pupil Julka Lee-Zidov felt warm in class wearing a mask while cooped up with 31 classmates.
The Haig Girls School pupil told The New Paper: "We really looked forward to recess as finally, it was 30 minutes of fresh air."
During her conversations with friends, which were often cut short by teachers reminding pupils to be safely apart, many friends complained about the heat under the masks.
Julka, 12, said: "I try to focus as much as I can in class. But I think the heat could distract some pupils from revising."
Students and teachers across Singapore returned to school yesterday donning face masks as part of back-to-school safe distancing measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Daily classes in school premises resumed for final-year students in both primary and secondary schools, while other students alternate weekly between home-based learning and classes in school.
On Monday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that face masks should be the default form of protection, while face shields will be allowed for children aged 12 and below, individuals with health conditions and people speaking in a lecture-style setting.
A primary school English teacher, who wanted to be known only as Mr Wong, told TNP he picked the face mask as it looked more presentable.
To help teachers make themselves heard, the school loaned microphones to some of them.
Mr Wong said: "I can hear myself but the bigger problem is with the kids replying - the soft-spoken kids become muted."
Teachers were also told to pay special attention to asthmatic pupils in case they feel breathless, he added.
For pre-schools, kindergarten pupils were the first to return, while children in nursery classes return on June 8.
Many centres distributed face shields, some attached to bucket hats, and encouraged children to wear them. They were allowed to remove them only during meals and naps.
Housewife Jesmine Teo, 33, said her five-year-old daughter, Ashlee, wore the mask and shield for 10 hours of class yesterday, but she had few complaints.
While MOH reviewed its stance on face shields on Monday, pharmacies and stores said demand for them had risen since May.