SINGAPORE — From Wednesday (May 19), Seven primary schools will move to home-based learning (HBL) for the next two weeks, until the end of term two on May 28, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Sunday after a small number of pupils in those schools tested positive for Covid-19 and said the move is a precautionary measure.
The schools are:
1. Kong Hwa School
2. Palm View Primary School
3. St Andrew’s Junior School
4. St Margaret’s Primary School
5. St Stephen’s School
6. Yio Chu Kang Primary School
7. Yu Neng Primary School
In the case of Yio Chu Kang Primary, pupils there are already on HBL, and this will be extended till May 28.
The MOE said that it is in contact with the schools to provide the necessary support, and is closely monitoring the well-being of pupils and staff identified as close contacts of confirmed cases.
Preschools and student care centres will remain open to support parents who need to work.
“As work-from-home will be the default mode at workplaces, parents are encouraged to keep their children at home during this period where possible,” MOE said.
In a Facebook post, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said he shared the same concerns as parents over the recent cases related to schoolchildren. “Our immediate priority is to ring-fence the schools with confirmed cases to safeguard the well-being of our students and staff.”
The minister added that from Monday, schools will implement heightened safe management measures. Classes will be strictly in cohorts, all co-curricular activities (CCAs) will be conducted online, and fixed seating with safe distancing for recess will be enforced, with no intermingling.
He also said private tuition and enrichment centres should move lessons online during this period, and inspections will be stepped up to ensure the safety of pupils.
“As we do our best to keep our students’ learning environment safe, MOE and the Ministry of Health are also working out the plans for vaccination of our students. Once the approval for use is granted, we will roll out vaccinations to those below 16,” he added.
During the June holidays, schools will allow graduating cohorts to come back in small groups where necessary. The mid-year GCE O- and A-Level Mother Tongue Language examinations will proceed as planned and with strict safe management measures in place.
MOE said the shift to full home-based learning was due to the sharp increase in the number of community cases, including the spike in unlinked cases on Sunday.
MOE added that during the full home-based learning phase, schools will continue to provide instructions and support for students to access a range of both online and hardcopy home-based learning materials, “so that learning continues uninterrupted”.
Schools will also assist students who may require digital devices or internet access.
The Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS) platform will continue to be accessible to students during this period.
MOE reiterated that schools will remain open for students who require additional support. In particular, parents working in essential services or are unable to secure alternative care arrangements may approach their children’s primary schools for assistance.