Home Team Academy officers learnt 'softer skills of serving' while running Covid-19 dorms

The academy's dormitories in Choa Chu Kang had housed more than 600 quarantined persons and around 500 migrant workers to date.
The academy's dormitories in Choa Chu Kang had housed more than 600 quarantined persons and around 500 migrant workers to date.PHOTO: HOME TEAM ACADEMY

SINGAPORE - With the resumption of training for full-time police national servicemen, most of the dormitories at the Home Team Academy (HTA) that were converted into Covid-19 support facilities have been reclaimed for the incoming batch of trainees.

Since late January, HTA has managed a quarantine facility, isolation facility and temporary alternative housing for migrant workers on its premises.

The academy's dormitories in Choa Chu Kang had housed more than 600 quarantined persons and around 500 migrant workers to date, and remains ready to house more quarantined persons.

HTA officers said that while the infrastructure was already in place to house hundreds of people, transforming the dorms to meet the various needs of the three different facilities was no mean feat.

Their work began on Jan 30, when officers had just 48 hours to prepare a quarantine facility, said HTA officer Marcus Chow.

Apart from ensuring there was fresh linen on beds and hygiene products and food in the rooms, officers also had to set up a proper admissions process and fence up the quarantine facility. HTA also produced posters in English, Bengali and Tamil to remind the residents of personal hygiene and safe distancing measures.

Thankfully, they had prepared for such a scenario through past exercises, said Mr Chow, assistant director of security with HTA's centre for corporate services.

The team also had to respond to "surprises" along the way, such as a request from a resident for a small fridge to store his insulin medication. Mr Chow said he had to loan him his personal bar fridge while they sourced for more fridges.

Officers tried to make it a comfortable stay for the migrant workers, who were often worried about the coronavirus situation both back home and in Singapore.

 
 

Prison superintendent Tanny Ng, who is on secondment to HTA, said she reminded her team members to be respectful towards the residents in their care, even as they had to maintain order.

Said Mr Chow: "Other than being law enforcers, we have also learnt the softer skills of serving and helping our fellow mankind."