Home-based learning for primary school students to end this week; phased return to school next week
SINGAPORE: Home-based learning (HBL) for primary school students will end this week, with a phased return to school for face-to-face classes from next Monday (Oct 11), the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Thursday.
The phased return to school is to ensure safe management measures can be implemented effectively, the ministry added.
Primary 3 to Primary 6 students will return to school from Monday, while Primary 1 and Primary 2 students will continue with home-based learning until Tuesday, before returning to school from Wednesday.
Special education (SPED) schools will be provided with more details on the phased return of students, said MOE.
Parents of Primary 1 to Primary 5 students will have to do an antigen rapid test (ART) swab on their children at home on either Oct 8 or Oct 9 prior to returning to school and report the results via a link that will be sent to them.
Primary 6 students were already back in schools earlier to sit for the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) between Sep 30 and Oct 6.
The Government had earlier placed all primary and special education schools on home-based learning from Sep 27 to Oct 6 amid a rise in COVID-19 community cases. This was extended to Oct 7 as an "added precaution".
Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) and other after-school activities will continue to be suspended for all levels, including secondary schools, junior colleges and Millennia Institute.
MOE said the move to bring students back for face-to-face lessons was "in line with our approach to minimise prolonged HBL where possible, for the socio-emotional well-being of students".
In a Facebook post, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said people will "have to learn to live with the virus" and minimise its impact on their daily lives.
"We also understand the stresses and strains on families and educators who need to juggle work and caring for their children during HBL. It is not easy," he wrote.
"We want to support our higher needs students and families. Not all children necessarily have conducive environments for HBL. Prolonged HBL can also negatively impact many students’ academic progress and socio-emotional well-being. HBL must thus only be a last resort, to be used in a targeted manner."
PRIMARY 3, 4 YEAR-END EXAMS TO BE CANCELLED
The ministry also announced on Thursday that year-end exams for about 79,000 Primary 3 and 4 students will be cancelled to “allow more time for curriculum recovery due to disruptions brought about by COVID-19”.
“Schools will be able to draw on information from a range of school-based assessments that were conducted throughout the year to report students’ learning progress and provide feedback, as well as make recommendations on students’ subject combination, where necessary,” it said.
This includes whether to offer standard or foundation level for specific subjects from the start of Primary 5.
Year-end exams for Primary 5 students will proceed under strict safe management measures, said MOE.
This “will allow students and parents to obtain a better understanding of students’ learning progress in relation to the Achievement Level (AL) scoring system, prior to taking the PSLE next year”, MOE said.
The PSLE marking exercise this year will be conducted from Oct 18 to Oct 21, and students will not be required to report to school during this period. No home-based learning classes will be conducted.
Oct 22 will also be declared a school holiday for primary schools. All primary school students will return to school from Oct 25, the ministry added.
TUITION CENTRES, ENRICHMENT CENTRES TO RESUME PHYSICAL CLASSES
Face-to-face lessons for students aged 12 and below at tuition and enrichment centres may resume from Oct 11, with strict safe management measures in place, said MOE.
However, the ministry added that it "strongly encourages" centres to continue conducting these classes online "as much as possible".
Face-to-face classes may also resume from the same date for students aged 12 and below in private education institutions, subject to all prevailing national safe management measures.
"Private education institutions with similar student profiles and that conduct similar activities to schools are strongly advised to take reference from measures for schools, and adopt them where possible," MOE said.
This includes phasing the return of students and self-testing of students prior to returning to school. Private education institutions may also continue to implement HBL for their students "where feasible", added the Education Ministry.