Phase 2: Education Minister Ong Ye Kung Addresses Parents' Concerns on CCA, PE Resumption and More
Intermingling of students across classes or schools are one of parents' top most concerns.
Singapore entering Phase 2 of post-Circuit Breaker today (19 June) might be a cause of celebration for many citizens where more social activities are allowed and businesses set to resume operations.
For families with school-going children, soldier on for one more week till the weekly rotation schedule ends. From 29 June, students can resume daily lessons in school.
“Having all students back in school at the same time is a significant step,” wrote Education Minister Mr Ong Ye Kung as social restrictions are eased considerably.
While it is heartening news for some, the move has also brought about many questions from concerned parents as physical education (PE) lessons will be allowed and Co-curricular activities (CCA) will resume gradually.
Minister Addresses Phase 2 Parental Concerns
In his Facebook post on 17 June, Mr Ong assured that MOE will “take careful incremental steps” to ensure the well-being of students.
“We will not ease the restrictions on other fronts such as PE and CCAs too much, even as social restrictions are eased considerably,” he wrote.
Mr Ong addressed a few top parental concerns in his post.
Q: How do we ensure that children will follow safe distancing measures when playing games during PE?
According to Mr Ong, activities will be capped at five persons per group and limited to those with minimal physical contact: badminton, table-tennis, or sepak takraw among others.
This could involve “some creative changes to game formats and rules”.
However, even with these measures put in place, it will still provide students with the required physical activity and holistic development.
Q: Wouldn’t resuming CCAs be unsafe, especially because it encourages mingling across classes?
What parents are saying:
Facebook user Zendern Lim highlights the concern of resuming CCAs, for concerns of intermingling between students from each level, breaching safe distancing guidelines.
Facebook user Ivy Li raised the possibility of students moving between different classes during 2nd language classes, resulting in co-mingling. According to her, there could be “touchpoints” even as CCAs gradually resume per class.
However, with this move also makes for an interesting way for students to explore new interests, said user 思琳.
For a start, resumption of CCAs will be through digital means for certain activities such as robotics, computer or art, according to Mr Ong. They can be conducted by coaches, instructors or CCA teachers as said in an MOE statement.
For other activities that are better-conducted face-to-face, they will be implemented at a class level for reduced intermingling.
This could mean that students might not necessarily partake in an activity of their original CCA choice, but still get to learn something new—and as a class. In short, either eCCA or one CCA per class.
Q: Tuition and enrichment centres will resume in Phase 2. Will face-to-face lessons at homes be allowed to resume too?
In response to the resumption of enrichment centres in Phase 2, some parents have concerns over the intermingling of students from different schools.
There are parents who are still leaning towards the home-based learning approach, which calls for the use of SafeEntry.
While face-to-face lessons at homes are allowed to resume, according to Mr Ong, home-based tutors are to use SafeEntry for visitors to support contact tracing.
From 19 June 2020, face-to-face lessons at home will be allowed to resume. These are safe management measures to adhere to, including:
- Ensuring a maximum of 5 visitors at any one time
- 1-metre safe distancing (wherever possible)
- Both tutor and students must wear a mask
- Temperature screening to be done
- Health declarations
- Home-based tutors to use SafeEntry for visitors to support contact tracing
While these measures could hopefully ease parents’ hearts and minds a little, everyone still needs to move carefully.
“Whatever we do, we should not let our guard down,” wrote Mr Ong.
Lead image: Ong Ye Kung/Facebook
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