COVID-19: Pre-school and primary school students to get face shields, hand sanitiser

The face shields and bottles of hand sanitiser will be given out as students return to school.

SINGAPORE: Pre-school and primary school students will each be given a face shield and hand sanitisers as they prepare to head back to the classroom from Jun 2.

All pre-school teachers and staff members will also receive face shields and an oximeter, as part of an initiative by Temasek Foundation in partnership with the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Some teachers have already received the items as they completed their COVID-19 swab tests in the past few days. Others will get them in the next few weeks, said Temasek Foundation in a media release on Friday (May 22).

“Face shields can be washed simply with soap and water, to maintain its anti-fog properties,” it added.

All pre-school, primary, secondary, junior college and special education school students will also be given two bottles of hand sanitiser each – a 50ml pocket-sized bottle and a larger 500ml one.

The sanitiser solution contains 40 per cent isopropyl alcohol and 0.1 per cent benzalkonium chloride.

Students, service contractors and staff at the Institute of Technical Education will also get two bottles of hand sanitiser each, along with a pair of reusable masks.

According to Temasek Foundation, these masks can retain their anti-microbial effectiveness for up to 30 washes. “With a wash one, wear one approach, the pair of MaskSafe reusable masks can provide daily use for up to two month,” it added.

In all, the initiative is expected to benefit more than 650,000 students, as well as 42,000 teachers and contract staff.

“Temasek Foundation is working with its partners to ensure that all schools can receive these items by Jun 8,” it said.

“Given the logistics involved, some students may not receive the items on the first day they return to school.

“Should this be the case, we encourage parents to ensure their pre-school and primary school children to use their own masks or face shields in school in the interim.”

MOE had announced that students will return to school in two phases, with graduating primary and secondary school students attending classes from Mondays to Fridays when Term 3 starts on Jun 2.

Students in other cohorts – those in Primary 1 to 5 and Secondary 1 to 3 – will rotate weekly between home-based learning and returning to school for lessons.

As for pre-school and early intervention centres, classes will resume gradually from Jun 2, beginning with children in Kindergarten 1 and 2.

Those in Nursery 1 and 2 will return from Jun 8, and children in infant care and playgroup can return from Jun 10.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung addressed some parents’ concerns about schools resuming classes on Jun 2, saying that exceptions can only be made for “specific concerns arising from medical conditions”.

He added that the Government cannot make attendance at school “voluntary” as such a system is not good for the morale of both students and teachers.

“It is likely that COVID-19 will stay with us for more than a year, and until a vaccine is available.

“We simply cannot keep our children at home for so long,” said Mr Ong, adding that it would seriously impact their socio-emotional and mental well-being.

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