COVID-19: Schools to Implement 1 Day of Home-Based Learning a Week From April, says MOE
The agency said the move is to "allow both our students and parents to be better prepared should the situation call for more days of home-based learning."
Amid the rise in the number of imported cases of COVID-19 in Singapore and in efforts to combat the spread of the outbreak here, the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Friday (27 March) said all students in primary and secondary schools, as well as junior colleges and centralised institutes, will have one day of home-based lessons a week from April.
According to MOE, primary schools will carry out home-based learning on Wednesdays, secondary schools on Thursdays, while junior colleges and centralised institutes will conduct them on Fridays.
MOE Kindergartens will not be affected by the arrangement.
The agency said the move is to “allow both our students and parents to be better prepared should the situation call for more days of home-based learning.”
Assistance required will be provided
The Minister added that schools will provide instructions to students and parents on accessing home-based learning materials from Monday (30 March), and assistance will be given to students who do not have access to digital devices when required, noting that the minister’s headquarters will provide schools with sufficient funds.
The Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS) will be accessible to students during this period.
MOE said that “while digital technologies will play a key part in home-based learning, all our students can rely upon the ongoing support of their teachers and other school personnel.”
“Our students in Special Education (SPED) Schools, as well as their parents, will also receive home-based learning support for the customised curriculum from SPED teachers through regular contact,” it added.
Schools to remain open for small groups
A “small group of students” whose parents are not able to secure alternative childcare arrangement may still go to school on days for home-based learning. Priority will be given to parents in essential services like healthcare, said MOE.
A small number of teachers will also be in school to supervise the students and support those at home who may have queries.
According to MOE, home-based learning will not be able to fully replace the depth and variety of learning experiences that students derive from being physically present in school.
“We are also conscious that moving to home-based learning will have [an] impact on many parents and families, especially those without good home support,” it added.
Centre-based Learning to Home-based Learning
To reduce risk of intermingling of students from different schools, MOE said it had switched centre-based learning to the home-based learning format. This arrangement will continue until the end of Term 2.
“For graduating students in Secondary 4 and 5, and JC2, the mode of learning can take the form of video-conferencing in their respective schools or at home, so that ‘live’ lessons can still be conducted without them having to travel to the centres and mingle across schools,” the ministry said.
Co-Curricular and Inter-school Activities to remain suspended
MOE said the co-curricular activities will remain suspended for the rest of Term 2. External activities and those that involve mingling of students across schools – Learning Journeys, outdoor learning activities at the Outdoor Adventure Learning Centres and the National School Games – will also remain suspended for the rest of Term 2.
The Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation will be cancelled, it added.
The education ministry said they will “continue to monitor the situation closely, and work with schools, parents and the community.”
They also urge all school students and staff to continue practising good personal hygiene and social responsibility throughout the day and even at home, which includes washing their hands frequently with soap, wearing a surgical mask if they have a cough or runny nose to prevent infecting others, seeing a doctor if they are sick and returning to school only when fully recovered.