Saturday, 29 Feb 2020

Coronavirus: Half of 730 children at St James' Church Kindergarten's Gilstead campus turn up for school on Friday

SINGAPORE – About half the 730 children at St James’ Church Kindergarten’s Gilstead campus returned to school on Friday (Feb 14), after the school closed for a day on Thursday to have its premises cleaned.

Two of its children, who are siblings, and their family are on home quarantine as their relative has been found to be infected with the coronavirus.

The relative did not visit the kindergarten.

The two children’s last day in school was on Feb 11, and they are currently well.

School principal Alicia Tang told The Straits Times that about half of the children across the morning and afternoon sessions turned up for school on Friday.

“Some parents decided to keep the children at home. Perhaps because it’s a Friday, so they can have a long weekend,” she said.

Children and staff at the school on Friday made cards and wrote notes for healthcare workers, with the school planning to distribute them through relatives who work at hospitals from next week.

Some children have also written to paramedics, and they want to post their cards to hospitals.

“Our teachers have been talking to the children about the coronavirus situation, and the people fighting this battle the past few weeks,” said Ms Tang.

She added that the crisis coincides with what the school had been teaching the children – to help them see the world beyond themselves.

“We want to show our gratitude to people in the community, and bring some encouragement to them,” she said.

“We give a lot of ownership to the children to suggest ideas, so some have said that they would get their parents who are doctors to distribute to healthcare workers at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital or Tan Tock Seng Hospital,” she added.

In a circular to parents on Thursday evening, the pre-school said that it had engaged a professional cleaning company to use hospital-grade disinfectants when cleaning the Gilstead campus.

It said that it would from Friday increase the frequency of health checks and temperature taking of staff and children, improve hygiene practices for children, and disinfect commonly used spaces more often.

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