Coronavirus pandemic

Schools reopen on June 2, but not all will go back to classrooms daily

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung
MINISTER FOR SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT DESMOND LEE
Minister For Social And Family Development Desmond Lee

Apart from Pri 6, Sec 4 and 5 graduating cohorts, rest will alternate between home-based learning and classes in school

Schools will reopen on June 2, but daily classes on school premises will be held only for the graduating cohorts of Primary 6, Secondary 4 and 5, who will wear masks or face shields while attending lessons.

All other students will alternate between home-based learning and classes in school on a weekly basis.

School-and community-based student care centres will also open from June 2.

For junior college and Millennia Institute students, half the student body has been given the go-ahead to be back in school at any one time from June 2, with their teachers ensuring that all students, especially the graduating cohorts, have more than adequate face-to-face time with them.

Physical education (PE) lessons will resume, but co-curricular activities will continue to be suspended.

During PE lessons, students and PE teachers will not be required to wear masks when engaged in strenuous physical activities.

Ministry of Education (MOE) centres will open for students sitting national examinations, including language papers.

MOE, which announced this yesterday, said that when there is a further easing of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, possibly in a few weeks' time, all students will start attending school every day.

All schools will continue with the safety measures that have been further tightened since late January, such as students staying in class groupings, and using fixed exam-style seating and practising appropriate distancing.

Staggered recess times and dismissals, daily temperature taking and wipe-down routines will continue. Teachers, like their students, will also be subject to the new measure of wearing masks or face shields.

Polytechnic students will continue attending lectures and tutorials online, while Institute of Tech-nical Education students will rotate weekly between online and on-campus lessons. They will return to campus primarily for practical and laboratory sessions.

Undergraduates from the Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Tech-nology and Design will conti-nue having lectures and tutorials online.

Students at the other four autonomous universities are currently on vacation.

Speaking at the Covid-19 multi-ministry task force briefing, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said that despite the strict safety measures in place, some parents will be worried.

PRECAUTIONS WILL BE TAKEN

Many students will be excited to return to school. Parents may be looking forward to school opening too, especially if they have to return to work. But I am sure parents are also worried about their children's safety. Rest assured that we will take whatever precautions we can to ensure the well-being of all students and staff... Covid-19 will be with us for some time. Let us take the necessary steps and precautions, to regain our lives as much as possible.

EDUCATION MINISTER ONG YE KUNG, on Facebook.

But he said: "All over the world, countries are opening schools in phases carefully because Covid-19 will be with us for some time. We must be able to regain our lives, while taking all necessary precautions."

He noted that when the coronavirus took hold early in the year, many countries closed schools, although for some of them, the school year had recently started.

As a result, there is concern among educators over learning loss for some students.

"It may set them back for many years," Mr Ong said, adding that even when his ministry decided to close schools from April 8, it did not take the decision lightly.

Parents had mixed reactions, with some seeing the need for the weekly rotation of students doing home-based learning and lessons in school.

Accountant Susan Neo, 40, whose two primary school-going children will be doing home-based learning on different weeks, said the arrangement will be inconvenient for her.

MEASURES AIM TO PROTECT ALL

We ask that our pre-school community of staff and children and parents not see this merely as rules and regulations, but measures that are essential to safeguard the health and well-being of all within the centres.

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT DESMOND LEE

She said: "I was looking forward to going back to work at the office; so was my boss. But now, I probably have to work from home for another month."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2020, with the headline 'Schools reopen on June 2, but not all will go back to classrooms daily'. Print Edition | Subscribe