Wuhan virus: 852 students, 115 staff on leave of absence, says MOE

Students on a leave of absence will be placed on a home-based learning plan and teachers will assign work from textbooks and workbooks to help these students keep up with their classmates.
Students on a leave of absence will be placed on a home-based learning plan and teachers will assign work from textbooks and workbooks to help these students keep up with their classmates.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - There are 852 students and 115 staff members on a 14-day leave of absence across the schools, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Friday (Jan 31).

The leave of absence had previously been announced for those who travelled to China in the past two weeks. The figures the MOE provided are correct as of Thursday.

The range of schools includes MOE kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, and junior colleges.

Across all institutions, one staff member and one student had travelled to Hubei, the province at the centre of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

The rest had travelled to other parts of mainland China.

The ministry said the measure allows it to "better mitigate the potential risks posed by travel in our schools and institutions, while enabling them to continue with their usual learning and other activities".

It added that as per the Ministry of Health's guidelines, those who had visited Hubei and are currently serving their leave of absence may be issued with quarantine orders if they are deemed to be at higher risk.

In a separate frequently asked questions (FAQ) post updated on Friday morning, the MOE also addressed concerns about cases where students with a travel history to China failed to declare it.

The post on the MOE website said: "We had received some feedback on such persons, but upon further checks, we found that they had returned from China in December 2019. This is well over the incubation period, so the leave of absence will not apply to them."

 
 
 

The ministry urged parents and students to let the schools know if any more of such cases surfaced, so necessary checks can be done.

Students on a leave of absence will be placed on a home-based learning plan.

The MOE said teachers will assign work from textbooks and workbooks to help these students keep up with their classmates.

Students will also have access to the Singapore Student Learning Space, an online platform with a range of curriculum-aligned resources.

Online tutorials and lectures are also available for affected students in the institutes of higher learning.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who shared the link to the MOE FAQ in a Facebook post on Friday, said: "We will take necessary measures to ensure the safety of our people.

"But we should also not let fear dictate our lives. As a society, we need to stay resilient. Keep vigilant, do our part and be socially responsible, while allowing life to go on as normally as possible."

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