Overnight camp aborted after Punggol Primary pupils suffer stomach pain and diarrhoea

Parents waiting for their children outside Punggol Primary School on Aug 30, 2019
Parents waiting for their children outside Punggol Primary School on Aug 30, 2019ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Long line of cars outside Punggol Primary School, as parents wait to bring their children home, on Aug 30, 2019.
Long line of cars outside Punggol Primary School, as parents wait to bring their children home, on Aug 30, 2019.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Punggol Primary School pupils returning from the camp on Aug 30, 2019.
Punggol Primary School pupils returning from the camp on Aug 30, 2019. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Parents walking with their children, outside Punggol Primary School, on Aug 30, 2019.
Parents walking with their children, outside Punggol Primary School, on Aug 30, 2019.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - A three-day camp for about 200 pupils from Punggol Primary School was cut short after a number of them suffered abdominal pain and diarrhoea.

In an online notice sent to parents on Friday evening (Aug 30), the school said some of the Primary 5 pupils fell ill during the camp held at Dairy Farm Outdoor Adventure Learning Centre, which is run by the Ministry of Education.

"In the interest of the students' well-being, the school has decided to curtail the camp duration," said the notice. It was to have been from Thursday to Saturday morning.

But the pupils were taken back to the school in Hougang on Friday night for parents to take their child home.

Parents were advised to take their child to the doctor should they feel sick in the next few days.

When The Straits Times visited the school on Friday night, a big group of parents were waiting at the school's main gate to take their children home.

Many said they were worried when told that some of the children had fallen ill.

A 45-year-old IT professional, who declined to be named, said his anxiety turned to relief when he found out his son was fine - "thankfully".

 
 
 
 

The pupils were ferried back to school in at least five buses. Parent and pupils interviewed said about 200 pupils had attended the camp.

Some of them told ST that more than 20 of their schoolmates and some teachers began having diarrhoea and stomach pain on Friday morning, but they did not know the cause.

Primary 5 pupil Janine Chia, who had stomach pain, said she and some of her schoolmates felt better after resting in the dormitory for a few hours.

"But some of them who were more ill went home earlier, from the campsite," she added.

The pupils had been 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.

After some of them fell sick, packets of food were bought from outside the camp for the campers, said Janine.

Her father, 45-year-old crane operator Jeffrey Chia, said the school had made the "tough but right" decision to abort the camp. He will be taking his daughter to the doctor for a check-up, he added.

Another student, who declined to be named, said he had washed his cutlery and utensils properly in between each meal, but he still had diarrhoea on Friday afternoon.

ST has contacted the school for more information.