SINGAPORE, Sept 12 (The Straits Times/ANN): All primary school pupils will be given three antigen rapid test (ART) kits from Monday (Sept 13), as they return from their September holiday break.
This is part of a four-pronged approach set out by Education Minister Chan Chun Sing in a Facebook post on Sunday to keep schools safe. It also includes keeping children at home if they are unwell, safe management measures in schools, and ring-fencing known Covid-19 cases and contacts.
Chan encouraged all families to help students do a self-test at home this week, and familiarise themselves with the procedure.
He said: "This will also serve as a one-time sweep to assure one another that our children are safe. In time to come, we may also request that additional self-tests be done."
The remaining two test kits are for "future contingencies, which we will replenish as necessary", he added.
Last month, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said the authorities would also distribute ART kits to all pupils and staff in Early Childhood Development Agency-licensed pre-schools, Ministry of Education kindergartens, early intervention centres, and the primary or junior sections of special education schools.
Chan also urged parents not to send their children to school if the child is unwell, or if a family member is undergoing quarantine or required to be in isolation.
Co-curricular activities (CCAs) will remain suspended, and safe management measures such as mask wearing and good personal hygiene practices will continue as they have "thus far helped us to minimise the risks of transmission within schools", he said.
Lastly, the minister said the rapid isolation and ring-fencing of known cases and their close contacts will continue, in order to "minimise transmission risks and disruption to the rest of the students, staff and families".
"This sustainable approach will allow our children to continue learning safely," he said.
"While the children who have contracted Covid-19 thus far have relatively mild symptoms, we must remain vigilant."
There were 22 Covid-19 cases aged up to 11 years old on Saturday.
Mr Chan also urged everyone to "encourage family and friends to be vaccinated to minimise the risks to our children who cannot be vaccinated yet".
"It will take the collective efforts of our community to keep our children safe," he added. - The Straits Times/ANN