Punggol Primary’s Overnight Camp Cancelled After Mass Diarrhoea & Stomachache Outbreak

One of my favourite memories from primary school would have to be the Primary 5 overnight camp. Outdoor cooking with our DIY stoves, screaming camp cheers at the top of our lungs, rock climbing and ziplining…those really were the days.

Image: Giphy

Fun fact: I have never made it to the top of a rock-climbing wall. Ever. 

All that aside, camps were such a great way to bond with your classmates while also doing tons of cool things that you could go back home and brag to your family about. It was truly such an enjoyable experience.

For most of us, at least.

Camp Cancelled After 20 Students & Teachers Fall Sick

However, the experience wasn’t quite the same for 200 Punggol Primary School students.

Image: Google Maps

Their 3-day overnight camp was cancelled and all the students were sent home from camp last Friday night, on 30 August.

The camp was held at Dairy Farm Outdoor Adventure Learning Centre, which is run by the Ministry of Education, and it was supposed to last till the 1st of September

A total of 20 students and teachers experienced “diarrhoea and stomach pain” on Friday morning, although the cause was undetermined. Some of them said they “felt better after resting back in the “dormitory” for a while”.

A student interviewed by The Straits Times said, “Some of them who were more ill went home earlier, from the campsite.”

Students Brought Their Own Reusable Utensils For Food

The students were told to bring their own utensils, a lunchbox, and a cup for their catered buffet meals during the 3 days of camp.

Buffet meals? During my primary school days, there was no such thing. I can clearly remember always being forced to eat a ton of vegetables as they would be piled unto our plates without giving us any say in the matter.

However, after the cases of diarrhoea and stomachache, the school decided to order packet food for the campers instead, for the rest of the duration of the camp.

One possibility could’ve been that the students did not wash their lunchboxes and utensils properly. Afterwards, they might’ve used the dirty utensils again for their next meal.

But nope, that wasn’t the case. Another student told The Straits Times that although he “washed his cutlery and utensils properly” between meals, he still fell ill as well.

Parents Were Notified

The school then decided to cancel the camp on Friday itself, and parents were notified about it immediately.

A circular that was distributed to them explained, “In the interest of the students’ well-being, the school has decided to curtail the camp duration.”

The students returned back to school in buses, where they were greeted with the sight of many worried parents crowding around at the main gate, hoping that their kids were alright.

Although it was a stressful and difficult situation, one parent commended the school’s decision to cancel the camp, and called it “the tough but right choice.”

The parents were also told to monitor if their children displayed similar symptoms for the next few days, and seek medical assistance immediately if they did.

It really is a shame that these students did not get the chance to enjoy their camp.

Hopefully, those affected will recover quickly, and the school will be able to find out the cause of the illness soon.


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