More than 50 Punggol Primary pupils, teachers fall ill during camp; school, authorities investigating

The school is now working with government agencies to determine the cause of the incident, and parents of affected students have been advised to monitor their children's condition.
The school is now working with government agencies to determine the cause of the incident, and parents of affected students have been advised to monitor their children's condition.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - A total of 46 Punggol Primary School pupils and five teachers suffered from diarrhoea and stomach pain during a camp which has since been cut short.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, its principal Hanafi Asmore said three students first reported these symptoms on Thursday (Aug 29) - the first night of what was to have been a three-day camp.

He said: "Of the affected pupils, 30 said that they were well enough to continue and 15 were sent home."

One pupil was hospitalised for observation and discharged on Saturday.

On Friday evening, the school made the decision to abort the camp in the interest of the students' well-being, he said.

Some students were also vomiting.

Mr Hanafi added that the school is now working with government agencies to determine the cause of the incident while parents of the affected students have been advised to monitor their children's condition.

The camp had been held at Dairy Farm Outdoor Adventure Learning Centre, which is run by the Ministry of Education.

The pupils were reportedly told to bring their own utensils, a lunchbox and a cup for their meals, which had been catered for and laid out buffet-style at the camp.

A pupil said that after some of them fell sick, packets of food were bought from outside the camp for the campers.

 

About five busloads of pupils were taken back to the school on Friday night. When ST visited the school in Hougang, a large group of parents were waiting at its main gate to take their children home. Many said they were worried when told that some of the children had fallen ill.

Parents and pupils interviewed said about 200 pupils had attended the camp.

In an update, Mr Hanafi said that 11 students and two teachers who were at the camp were absent from school on Sept 2.

He added that the student who was hospitalised on Thursday was discharged the next day and had resumed classes.

"The school is working closely with the relevant government agencies to ascertain the cause of the incident and will continue to monitor the health of our students and staff," he said.

The Singapore Food Agency said it is investigating the incident.