An online petition titled “Close down Singapore local schools before the coronavirus spreads to the community” has been created to call for the government to shut down local schools to reduce the risk of coronavirus infections among the community.

The petition was created by Jasper X at online petition platform change.org, which is meant to be delivered to the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Health (MOH).

The petition maker, Mr Jasper wrote that it is necessary to close down the schools as the severity of coronavirus and the number of infections cases keeps expanding globally.

Touching on the local transmission, he highlighted the high risk of transmission by noting several locals in Singapore who have no travel history to China but have been confirmed as being infected with COVID-19.

He said, “From kindergarten or daycare for toddlers to secondary school, junior college and possibly university, the children and young adults may be prone to this infectious virus.”

“Just because there is a possibility that the students will not be infected doesn’t mean that it’s a risk people are willing to take,” he added.

Citing the 2003’s SARS outbreak caused 8,000 infections and 33 deaths in Singapore, Mr Jasper said that the school was shut down for a few weeks during that period as an effort to reduce the chances of students getting infected.

“People don’t want the school closures to occur only when it’s too late and when community spread starts,” Mr Jasper wrote. “Schools should be closed down NOW before it’s too late.”

A signatory of petition Samridhi S also wrote, “If we can ask adults to stay at home and work. Why do kids have to go to school during this virus outbreak?”

Another signatory Tresena Fonseka felt absurd that MOE has not considered for school closure earlier which the youth also expose to the risk of infections. She said that the schools in other countries have already considered online learning, adding, “Like Phua Chu Kang always likes to say, Eh, Wait for what? Until one of the MP’s children is infected, is it?”

At the time of writing, the petition has gained over 8,500 signatures, drawing closer to its target of 10,000 signatures.

Similarly, another online petition titled “SCHOOLS SHOULD LOCKDOWN DUE TO COVID 19”, which was launched by online user Suriamoorthy Nangapan, has garnered over 500 supporters, aiming to reach 1,000 signatures.

With the current situation of COVID-19 and the lockdown policy of some countries, Mr Nangapan voiced that the government should “place a lockdown on all schools” and “extend the stay home policies” for a minimum of additional two weeks to safeguard the children from the disease.

“We are facing uncharted waters due to the recent spike in numbers of infected in Singapore. Protect our children,” Mr Nangapan said.

Netizens slammed Education Minister over MOE’s reasoning for reopening schools amid COVID-19 outbreak

Earlier, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung had explained about the reason his ministry decided to reopen the schools on Monday (23 March) despite the spread of COIVD-19.

In his Facebook post on Sunday (22 March), Mr Ong addressed three different reasons – scientific evidence, taking extra precautions, and a goal to reduce disruptions – as to why students are allowed to start classes following the March holidays.

His post came after the announcement of government on ban all short-term visitors from entering or transiting through the country from 11.59pm on Monday, in order to reduce the risk of imported COVID-19 cases in the country.

However, the netizens who seems discontented over the minister’s explanation expressed their frustration and slammed the minister in his Facebook page.

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