Coronavirus: I am for the closing of all schools in Singapore

By Khan Osman Sulaiman

As the COVID-19 crisis grows increasingly severe in Singapore, a vigorous debate over whether the G should close all schools rages on.

On one hand, we have people who are adamant that schools should indeed be shut down, reason being that children end up unnecessarily exposed should lessons in the physical classroom continue during this pandemic. And it's irresponsible to put their lives at risk.

On the other, there are those who vehemently oppose such a suggestion because that they hail from dual income families (ie both husband and wife are breadwinners); alternative arrangements to care for their children would probably have to be made at the expense of taking last minute no-pay leave, company management's approval notwithstanding.

Both camps have merits in their arguments. Then again, if I really had to choose between them, I would go along with closing all schools just to play safe.

The health of any individual is of utmost importance. If we have to take home lesser pay and personally inconvenience ourselves to care for our very own flesh and blood, so be it.

Our children's health matter more than anything else, academics included. No sane person will ever refute this.

All lives are equally precious and no single community deserves to endure greater risk than others. Furthermore, we are talking about schooling children who have minimal say whatsoever over their daily routines, and by implication their susceptibility to external unforeseen hazards.

In the event (school closures) actually happen, let's hope the G will adequately assuage parental anxiety and do right by everyone affected.

This first appeared as a post on the Facebook wall of Khan Osman Sulaiman on 25 March 2020. Do join in the discussion over there if you have thoughts to share.


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