Singapore to Ease Primary Students Back to In-Person Classes
(Bloomberg) -- Singapore will begin returning primary school children to in-person classes starting Oct. 11, as prolonged study at home could hinder students’ well-being and academic progress.
The move comes as Covid-19 infections in the city-state continue to hit new highs despite curbs that were reinstated to curb the spread.
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post that so-called home based learning must “only be a last resort, to be used in a targeted manner,” also citing the challenges for families and educators who need to juggle work and childcare during this period.
Among moves announced Thursday by the Ministry of Education:
- Students in Primary 3 to 6 return Monday, Oct. 11
- Primary 1 and 2 students return in person Oct. 13
- Parents of primary school students must conduct a home ART test on their children before school resumes in person and report results online
- Year-end exams for Primary 3 and 4 students canceled
- Tuition and enrichment centers allowed to restart face-to-face instruction from Oct. 11, but encouraged to remain online as much as possible
The move by the government comes at the tail-end of two weeks of online school classes, put in place together with reimposed restrictions that cut group gathering sizes and made work from home the default. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases have continued to climb, though officials have said that it will take time for the curbs to take effect and reduce pressure on its healthcare system.
Vaccinations for Kids
With one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, Singapore has started booster jabs for its elderly, and has said it expects to start inoculating children under age 12 sometime early next year.
“We look forward to vaccinating our school children soonest possible when the vaccines are approved for use and available to us,” he added.
The government acknowledged this week in Parliament that home-based learning cannot be a full substitute for the school experience. However, schools have been using technology to reduce disruption and maintain social connections.
“On a prolonged basis, it comes at a cost not just to students’ learning but also their socio-emotional development and mental wellbeing. It also imposes a burden to families and society,” according to the response.
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