Earlier on 21 May, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung addressed some of the concerns that many parents have raised following the Government’s announcement to reopen schools after the country exits the circuit breaker on 2 June.
The Minister remarked that attending schools cannot be made “voluntary” as such a system is “not good for the morale of both students and teachers”.
In addressing the concern of children having problems in wearing a face mask for the whole day at school, Mr Ong noted that they can opt to wear a face mask or a face shield when in school or on campus.
“Schools will be arranging to distribute face shields to all preschool and primary school students in Term 3. Teachers will help the young children get used to the masks or shields with time. If there are special circumstances, teachers will also exercise flexibility,” he said.
In response to that, Mansura Sajahan – a member of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) – took to her Facebook on Tuesday (26 May) to call out the education minister for being “very irresponsible” for not making it compulsory for students to wear a face mask.
“Mr Ong is being very irresponsible in not making wearing of masks compulsory for students. Infectious disease experts caution that face shields provide limited protection and should be worn together with other masks in order to be effective,” Ms Mansura wrote.
She added, “This is on top of making school compulsory, yet wearing of masks not compulsory.”
Ms Mansura said that when the COVID-19 infection in the country was still considerably low, the ministers and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong “discouraged” Singaporeans to wear a face mask, even though many health experts have warned that masks should be worn by all.
“One Minister even said they distributed a number of masks to each household just to make Singaporeans feel ‘shiok‘,” she asserted.
But when the infected cases increased, “mask-wearing was made compulsory”, Ms Mansura added.
She went on to say that Mr Ong is “acting in an arrogant manner” when it comes to the safety and health of the students. She also questioned the Minister if he would take responsibility in case one of the students gets infected with the virus for not wearing a mask.
“Is he going to take responsibility if even one student gets infected with COVID-19 through not wearing of masks, let alone if a cluster forms? Accountability is low or non-existing in our present government, that is perhaps why Mr Ong is acting in this manner,” Ms Mansura stated.
On that note, she remarked, “At the most, they might apologise. But as a parent, I cannot allow this to happen to our children.”