Forum: In Covid-endemic S'pore, what will revised social work guidelines look like?

I agree with the commentary to let life in Singapore return to an "endemic normal" by opening up (Choosing the best option when none is ideal, Sept 8).

As a community worker serving both migrant worker and lower-income communities, I sense the confusion and uncertainty in planning ground operations.

It has been 17 months since we downsized our community engagement activities - at times moving them to Zoom, holding sessions in groups of five persons or doing contactless deliveries.

While carrying on with our scaled-down activities has ensured we maintain ground presence and relative closeness with our communities, we are reaching a breaking point.

We find ourselves fatigued from having to adjust our sessions based on the evolving safe management measures. We need clarity from the multi-ministry task force on what community work looks like in a Covid-endemic Singapore.

I admit being scared when I see three-digit Covid-19 case numbers, and will cancel or move sessions online. I am also scared that our community activities might lead to Covid-19 cases in economically vulnerable families. This will be destabilising as many families live on daily wages.

Hence, there is a trade-off to make. If we carry on with community activities as they are now, we risk further community isolation, mental health deterioration and harming our social fabric. The children that I work closely with are now more reclusive, and the intimate social fabric we had isn't as strong.

If we expand our community engagement, we risk cases going up in our vulnerable communities.

How do we deal with this trade-off and what might revised community work guidelines in a Covid-endemic Singapore look like?

Abhishek Bajaj