The spread of the coronavirus in Singapore and worldwide has incited fear amongst many students in the country. In responsive, the Ministry of Education’s latest program aims to inform and educate students about the virus and also determine what the students know and feel about the virus.
On Friday, February 7, teachers in primary and post-secondary schools in the country started teaching their students about the coronavirus using the new MOE curriculum. You can find out here on the latest changes on the MOE curriculum.
Age is also considered in the new curriculum as teachers are given different guidelines and questions on what to ask students about the virus. Upper-primary students, in particular, are also taught how to understand the issues related to the virus and the scientific aspect of the outbreak.
Several preventive measures such as good hygiene are also included in the MOE curriculum.
Impact of the new MOE curriculum on Students
Many students who were taught the new curriculum about the virus said that they were scared about the ongoing outbreak.
In the Farrer Park Primary School, for instance, half of the students said that they are scared about the virus when asked by their teachers. A few said that they were slightly concerned. This article shows how our students are affected by Coronavirus measures taken by MOE.
When asked to elaborate on why they are scared, students point out the rising numbers of those infected by the virus in the country and how fast it is spreading. Students also show that they are familiar with the name, nature and current status of the virus in the country.
Teachers also asked the students about the fake news spreading about the virus and they would react when sent one. Students show that they are vigilant about these kinds of news and will not believe them immediately.
Regarding the issue of xenophobia towards their Chinese classmates and other Chinese citizens in the country, teachers discover that students show that they do not agree with the treatment they are experiencing. They stress that even if they are Chinese, there is a possibility they haven’t travelled to China during the outbreak.
As a parent, you can talk to your child on xenophobia and bullying in school. Do watch out for signs if your child is bullied in school due to xenophobia.
Farrer Park Primary also enforced other measures to protect its students and staff. Students are now required to bring their own thermometers and record their temperature in a journal. Outdoor camps were cancelled, which were originally set for February 10.
What Led to the MOE Curriculum and Other Initiatives?
The MOE’s release of the new coronavirus curriculum is part of its various preventive measures to prevent an outbreak across schools in the country after the first confirmed case in Singapore.
On February 4, Ministry of Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that schools will be cancelling camps and field trips, as well as revising break times and introducing a new visitor protocol. Other co-curricular activities and school events will also be cancelled in the meantime to prevent possible cases.
Applying the new protocols is not different from what was earlier done during the H1N1 and SARS outbreak. MOE’s director of schools Liew Wei Yi said that Singaporeans are ready for anything.
The MOH has announced that they are monitoring the situation closely and will revise the country’s response if necessary. But, they do acknowledge that a community spread in Singapore is still likely and this is the reason why they are looking at ways to reduce human interactions in schools and other public locations in the meantime.
Aside from the cancellation of public events and activities in schools, the MOE earlier enforced a compulsory leave of absence for 14 days for any student or staff if they have been in China. To allow students to keep up with their classes, students will be getting their lessons at the Students Learning Space platform.
According to Ms Liew, the new protocols for schools will be implemented immediately to protect students and staff alike and contain any possible outbreak from occurring. Temperature checks and travel history verifications will also be done for visitors.
Reactions from Students, Parents, and Teachers
The reactions of students, parents, and teachers vary when these protocols were introduced in schools.
In Farrer Park, for instance, some students have expressed some disappointment that key school events are cancelled. But, parents are happy that precautionary measures are being implemented to protect their children. They also see it as a great way to teach kids how to manage their disappointment and know how to learn the importance of the issue.
Teachers have also said that these new protocols are good at keeping everyone prepared. Students learn how to take care of themselves and others, as well as learning how to be responsible at the same time.
They also understand that students currently under the SLS platform must be assisted in their lessons once they go back to school and help them adjust. For students who want to catch up on their lessons, they can opt for private tuition.
Some teachers also see the new guidelines as a way to reassure students. One teacher from Farrer Park Primary said that some children may be scared because they see how the outbreak is affecting their parents.
The new guidelines let students, parents, and teachers calm down, not be afraid about the outbreak and be prepared.
Since fake news is popular in social media and people are not able to tell what is real regarding the virus, it is key that students are taught the real facts about the virus in school.
The new MOE initiative ensures that students are able to discern fake news from facts about the virus and not panic, as well as be informed on what they can do to prevent it from spreading.
While the other MOE initiatives reduce the fun activities for students, the uncertainty the virus brings must not be taken lightly by all. As parents, you can find out how to work with your child’s school to ensure that they understand why this issue is serious and let them know that when the issue is resolved, everything will be back to normal.
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