Schools to remain open, no school-based Covid-19 spread from recent cases: Lawrence Wong

Schools will stay open in spite of the current spike in Covid-19 cases.
Schools will stay open in spite of the current spike in Covid-19 cases.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - Schools will stay open in spite of the current spike in Covid-19 cases, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Tuesday (July 20). He added that there have been no school-based transmissions linked to the recent infections.

Mr Wong, who co-chairs the task force combating the Covid-19 outbreak, said: "When it comes to schools, we do have in place a whole series of very stringent protocols and safe management measures in order to minimise interactions in the classrooms  and ensure that there is no transmission within the school system.

"And that's why, for the most part of this pandemic, we have been able to keep schools open, ensure that learning continues safely, not just for our students, but also for all our educators."

He was responding to a question from the media, during a virtual press conference by the task force, about whether schools will be shut down.

Mr Wong, who noted that many places worldwide have ended up closing schools for extended periods of time, said: "Many studies now have shown that these extended school closures do have an impact on learning, it has an impact on students."

He said the impact of school closures can be long-lasting, and may even lead to permanent scarring when it comes to learning and the development of human capital. Hence, the Government has tried very hard to avoid this scenario.

Mr Wong added that the students who have been infected so far have been infected by their family members and not in schools.

Thus, based on the current assessment, Singapore will still keep its schools open at the present stage, said Mr Wong.

"The Ministry of Education will continue to ensure that our safe management measures in our schools are stringently upheld," he said.

"They will make sure that all the protocols are adhered to strictly, and of course they will continue to monitor the situation very closely to see if further adjustments are needed along the way."

Read next: What you need to know about Singapore's Covid-19 rules from July 22