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Taking a leaf from Blangah Rise Primary’s COVID-19 Diary

07 Apr 2021

As we look back on our fight against COVID-19, what moments of resilience stood out for you? The students and teachers of Blangah Rise Primary share their thoughts in “Here Comes The Storm Now: Our COVID-19 Diary”. 

“As claps of thunder boom and streaks of lightning flash… the school stands tall, supporting its charges through it all…” wrote Primary 5 student, Aggie Chua. This was at the start of the Circuit Breaker a year ago. In her imagination, the COVID-19 pandemic was a storm, and the school a welcome shelter for her and her friends.

Aggie’s poem is published in a book by Blangah Rise Primary School to document the pandemic through the eyes of the school staff, students and their parents. Titled “Here Comes The Storm Now: Our COVID-19 Diary”, the book brings readers through the milestones of Singapore’s response to the pandemic. It charts a journey through the uncertain early days of DORSCON Orange, and the move to Full Home-Based Learning, through the cautious re-opening in Phase 1 and the resumption of more activities at the end of 2020.

Principal Mr Francis Foo, explained, “We started this as an online diary to encourage our school community to contribute their experiences, and stay connected with each other during the Circuit Breaker. As the stories came in, it became also a historical record of the unprecedented times we were going through.”

Yet the book is much more than just a timeline of events. The project captures the resilience and adaptability of the school community through photos, reflections and the artwork from the children. The book was distributed to all students to encourage them to appreciate the effort that went into overcoming the pandemic.

Ms Teresa Leong, teacher in-charge of the publication shares, “Despite the challenges, Covid-19 has also given us many learning opportunities and enabled us to practise values such as empathy, gratitude, and unity. We hope that the book will spark meaningful conversations when parents and children read it together.” 

Here is a sneak peek of the book. It’s an expression of hope from the children that the storm will soon abate, hopefully.

Organised chronologically, the book captures the experiences of the students as the pandemic situation evolves – and shows the impact of COVID-19 on the way we live, play and work. Who would have expected in February that this would be the last time students could have a mass assembly in the school hall for more than a year?

Students and teachers reflected on the move to Full Home-Based Learning in April, and how they had to adapt to interacting online within a short time. It was not easy at the start, but they found ways to cope, and even discovered benefits in this new way of learning.

The Safe Management Measures (SMM) took some adjusting to when school resumed in June last year. In spite of them, students appreciated being able to play and learn with their friends in school again.

Primary 3 student Lea Stroe says, “Every entry in the COVID-19 Diary brings back memories on what had happened last year. It reminds me of how we overcame the challenges together as a school. It also got me to appreciate all the things that we have and not take them for granted.”

The book also featured the unsung heroes who worked behind the scenes, ensuring that teachers and students could continue teaching and learning in school safely.

Primary 6 student Neharika D/O Nagaisvaran says, “I found the book memorable, as I can remember all the hard times that my classmates and teachers went through together. What I liked about the book was that it showed how every part of the school community, including our students, teachers, staff, and cleaners played a part in combating the pandemic.”

Mrs Sarah Lien, a parent with two children in Blangah Rise Primary School says, “The book is a strong reminder of what transpired over an exceptional year and a look behind the scenes into the measures taken by the school. It’s an artefact that we can reference over the years and it was great to see contributions from the community of students, teachers and staff. As a family we were proud to see my child’s photos from the Young Photographers programme published!”

The book is dedicated to frontline heroes who have kept Singapore safe so that children can continue learning.