If you were a child, would you understand what all the fuss about the COVID-19 is?

As adults, we still have the horrors of SARS fresh in our minds. To our children, however, SARS was an event that took place before they were born.

How is COVID-19 different from the common influenza?

Why is it dangerous?

How does wearing masks and sanitising hands keep us safe?

What is a virus anyway?

These are just some of the questions we’ve heard from our students since the onset of the outbreak.

To turn this into a teaching opportunity, we rolled out the Antivirus Contest. We gave our students a brief fact sheet about the virus and challenged them to impress us with novel interesting facts about the virus/disease.

The objectives are three-fold:

  1. Motivate students to put in a good few hours of self-directed learning with the promise of a prize.
  2. Instill in students the importance of social responsibility and good hygiene habits for the purposes of safeguarding themselves and curbing the spread of the virus.
  3. Engage students in discussions about the issue in a constructive manner.

When children are engaged and motivated, they always surprise us with what they can discover, learn or solve on their own. Like this entry from one of our Primary 6 girls who’s taking English and Science enrichment lessons at Joyous Learning. Her erudition, grasp of the subject matter and humour blew the teachers away!

You can read the scanned copy of Esther’s submission below. If you’re squinting, scroll below to read the transcribed version.

Viral Antivirus Fact-finding Contest
Viral Antivirus Fact-finding Contest
Viral Antivirus Fact-finding Contest

Below is the transcribed version. Esther’s submission has been reproduced faithfully, without edits nor embellishments.

Facts About (then known as) Wuhan Coronavirus

by Esther Ong, Primary 6

– Wuhan Coronavirus, the Wuhan Coronavirus is part of Coronavirus family and it usually affects only animals. A Coronavirus is so named because if you examine it under a microscope, it has crown-like spikes on its surface. Corona is Latin for “crown”. The Wuhan Coronavirus has, for now, been named 2019-nCoV. The Wuhan Coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in Central China. The Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organisation on December 31st last year of a string of pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs usually caused by an infection. People can die from severe cases of it. People are worried about the Wuhan virus because it usually affects animals. The Wuhan virus is also new so currently there is no vaccine – something that trains your body to fight a disease it has not met with before – or medicine for the virus. No one knows how the Wuhan Virus spread from animals to humans, but the Wuhan virus can be traced back to the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan. The market does not only sell seafood but also many types of wildlife. The authorities believe the virus came from wild animals sold illegally in the market. There have been many cases of the Wuhan virus all over the world such as the United States, Thailand, Japan, Australia and Vietnam. In Singapore, as of February 10, there have been 45 people who have come down with the virus. Two of them are Singaporeans who were evacuated from the city on Jan 30 and the other 16 are Chinese nationals who flew from Wuhan. On the 28 of Jan, the Government banned travellers who had been to China from entering or transiting Singapore. People with China passports, apart from permanent residents and those on long-term passes, will not be allowed in Singapore.

– SARS, SARS virus, (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) is part of the coronaviridae famil and we are not sure yet what animal spread the virus. SARS affected 26 countries and had over 8000 cases in 2003. Symptoms are fever, headache, diarrhoea, and shivering. Cough, shortness of breath and diarrhoea are present in the first or second week of illness. The SARS virus started in Guangdong province of Southern China. Countries which human-to-human transmission occurred were Toronto in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore and Hanoi in Vietnam. Currently nowhere in the world is reporting transmission of SARS since 2003.

– MERS, MERS virus (Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus) is part of the coronavirus family and MERS can be traced back to Jordan. The first MERS case was in the United Arab Emirates on July 2013. Since then there have been 91 cases of MERS with 12 associated deaths. From 2012 until 15 February 2020, there have been 2506 cases globally with 862 associated deaths.

We’ll be rolling out more of such contests as and when something worth having conversations about pop up, so encourage your young ones to take part!

Children like discovering and learning things on their own. For once, you’ll see them using that tablet for research and study rather than for gaming. They might approach you for help, and that’s alright. Use that quality bonding time to teach them how to source for credible information and sieve out fake news. Most importantly, have fun!

Learning, as we’ve always believed, should be a Joyous process.