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Staying Safe During a Pandemic: A Quick Guide for Students and Parents

The coronavirus pandemic has upended most of 2020 and 2021, but Singapore is slowly but surely getting back on its feet. Late in September, the national government has declared that it is adopting a strategy of living with COVID—that is, restrictions will be gradually eased as the country starts treating COVID-19 as an endemic disease. It’s worth noting that by the end of August 2021, 80% of Singapore’s population has been fully vaccinated. More than 4.5 million people in the country have completed their vaccines under the national vaccination program, and more than 400 thousand individuals have also received their booster shots.

COVID 19

Parents, students, and their schools can expect more restrictions to be lifted in the coming days. However, academic communities must remain vigilant against the spread of COVID-19, as the number of positive cases can still change dramatically from time to time. How can parents and students maintain a healthy balance between staying safe and welcoming the new normal? Here are a few tips that they should note:

Continue Following the Safety Measures Recommended by the Government

The SARS outbreak in 2003 has helped Singapore prepare for the possibility of a future pandemic, and the lessons from that period have empowered the country to respond to the spread of COVID-19 in a timely and effective manner. Early on, child care facilities and academic institutions of all levels have received clear and concise guidelines on how to keep their facilities safe and ensure the health and well-being of their students, educators, and staff members. Some international academic institutions even went the extra mile by offering temporary accommodations to their students. Because they know that their children are well looked after in a boarding school in Singapore, the parents who were stranded outside of the country were able to focus on arranging their flights and getting through the required quarantine period upon their reentry. 

Parents and students should continue to observe the safety measures that they’ve been following since the pandemic started. This means keeping up with the recommended hygiene practices and observing social distancing. If they need to travel outside the country, families should try to avoid high-risk areas and follow the necessary isolation protocols once they come back. Parents who must travel for work would also do well to find a school with accommodation options for their children, just in case the situation in the country changes while they’re away. 

Practice Self-Care and Recognize the Signs of Distress in Other People

The pandemic has not only endangered the physical health of parents and students; it has also caused a lot of emotional, mental, and financial stress. Not all homes have served as a safe haven for students and for members of their family in the past few months, and many people were not able to keep up with the changes in their environment. In fact, the cases of domestic violence in the country have increased dramatically during the circuit breakers.

Parents need to understand that dealing with changes can be difficult for anyone, no matter their age. While the country is still undergoing a transitionary period, it’s important for parents to take care of themselves so that they can respond to the needs of their children properly. Setting aside time for self-care and reflection can help the adults in a home come to terms with their sources of stress and take practical steps to improve their living conditions. At the same time, this will enable them to see signs of stress, if any, in their children. This, in turn, will give them the opportunity to introduce and practice the concept of self-care with their young family members and help them develop a better understanding of their feelings and how they react to the events around them.

Acknowledge the Fears and Difficulties Caused by the Changing Situation

Singapore has a clear goal for the coming months, and that is to live in the new normal. Between today and that end goal, though, there are still a lot of things that can take place. Setbacks can occur, as well as opportunities that can fast-track the country’s achievement of this coveted goal.

Parents and students will need to prepare themselves for more disruptions, adjustments, and feelings of uncertainty. Now more than ever, families should be honest in acknowledging their feelings, and they should nurture the thought that it’s normal to feel frustrated in times like these. This is a key step in accepting the difficult situation that everyone is in. Doing so will help parents and caregivers extend their emotional bandwidth and give them the capacity to serve as a safe space for assuaging their children’s fears and feelings.

Despite the push to further open the economy, careful steps must still be taken to ensure that the ongoing pandemic will not overwhelm the country’s health system. This level of care must be reflected in homes in Singapore, and parents play a key role in ensuring that their children will remain safe as the country takes steps to reach its “new normal.”

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