COVID-19: Graduating students to go back to schools in small groups from 19 May – Ong Ye Kung

PHOTO: Facebook/Ministry of Education
PHOTO: Facebook/Ministry of Education

SINGAPORE — Students from graduating cohorts – Primary 6, Secondary 4 and 5, JC2 and Pre-U 3 – will be brought back to schools on selected days in the week from 19 May, as part of Singapore’s initial steps to ease the COVID-19 circuit breaker measures.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a post on his Facebook page on Saturday (2 May) that these students’ return to school will be done in a “careful and calibrated manner, with ample safe distancing”.

“They will come back in small groups, on selected days in a week, throughout the day, and will be spaced out within the school compound,” he said in the post. “They will meet teachers one-to-one, or in small groups. Masks are compulsory.

“We will give priority to students requiring school facilities for coursework and practical sessions, as well as those who need additional support and remediation.”

First 2 weeks of holidays are protected time for teachers

Singapore schools had shift to full home-based learning on 8 April, as part of circuit breaker measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. School-based mid-year examinations were cancelled, although national examinations will continue.

Ong said that, as schools enter the four-week mid-year school holidays next week, the first two weeks will be protected time for teachers, to allow them to rest and recharge, plan lessons and stay in touch with students.

As for the decision to bring in the graduating cohorts, he said, “We know that these students have been anxious about the preparation for their national exams, and that home-based learning cannot fully substitute face to face coaching and lessons.”

Continue engaging students with greater needs

Throughout the holidays, schools will continue to engage students with greater needs and provide care for those whose parents work in essential services and are unable to secure alternative care arrangements.

Ong said that, for teachers rostered during this period, they will be given protected rest time in the later half of May.

Singapore announced earlier on Saturday that it will be progressively relaxing its COVID-19 circuit breaker measures in the coming weeks, and allow the resumption of certain businesses and activities amid a slowdown in community transmissions.

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