Coronavirus: Students resume classes at Raffles Institution on Monday after school's day of deep cleaning

Students returned to Raffles Institution on March 2, 2020. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - Students returned to Raffles Institution (RI) on Monday (March 2), after it was closed last Friday for thorough cleaning.

Lessons were suspended that day after a 12-year-old RI student was confirmed last week to be infected with the coronavirus.

Staff and students who had close and sustained contact with the infected student have been identified and issued leave of absence, said the Education Ministry.

In response to queries, RI principal Frederick Yeo said more than 97 per cent of students turned up on Monday, similar to its usual attendance numbers.

Mr Yeo told The Straits Times: "While some of the parents are understandably anxious, they are generally supportive of the measures the school has put in place."

RI has since ramped up its social distancing measures, including having fixed or alternate seating in classrooms, minimising group work during lessons and replacing the lectures for Year 5-6 students with tutorial-based learning in smaller groups.

Co-curricular activities have also been suspended for two weeks, since last Saturday.

Mr Yeo said affected students on leave of absence will be supported via home-based learning to ensure that their studies can continue. Form teachers will also check on their well-being.

"On top of reassuring our stakeholders, we have also kept our communication channels open, and encouraged the Rafflesian community to support one another. We will continue to remain vigilant and ensure that the school remains a safe environment for all," he added.

Ms Lena Kwek, 46, whose son is in Year 2 at RI, said: "The news last week came as quite a shock. It's the feeling of being so close to the virus which makes it more real.

"The parents' chat groups within RI were pretty active that night and I received texts from relatives and friends asking if my son is fine."

But the school's prompt and timely updates have helped to allay any fears, said the managing director and publisher.

"Most parents sent our teens back to school today. We have full confidence with the school's measures as we have been updated along the way, and even on Sunday evening."


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