SINGAPORE - All primary schools will start full home-based learning for Primary 1 to 5 pupils from Sept 27 until the end of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) sitting on Oct 6 amid a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases.
In a statement on Saturday (Sept 18), the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that the measures will also apply to Special Education (Sped) schools offering the national curriculum.
"This will better protect our younger students who are not yet medically eligible for vaccination," said MOE.
"This is to minimise the risk of school-based transmissions and reduce the number of students placed on Quarantine Order or Leave of Absence prior to the examination," said the ministry on Saturday (Sept 18).
This year, the PSLE sitting starts on Sept 30 and ends on Oct 6. Primary 6 students will go on a study break from Sept 25 to 29 prior to the exam, similar to the arrangement last year.
Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said in a Facebook post on Saturday: "Our students are taking their national exams amidst challenging circumstances - let us all do our part to support them and protect our school community."
Schools will remain open for students who require additional support during the period of HBL. Parents who are unable to work from home or secure alternative care arrangements can approach their children's schools for assistance.
MOE kindergartens, kindergartens care services and student care centres will operate normally.
Students are encouraged to do an antigen rapid test (ART) swab test at home on these dates to allow time to take a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab test if necessary.
PCR is necessary if pupils test positive for ART swab or when they get two consecutive invalid ART results.
• Primary 6: Either on Sept 27 or 28
• Primary 1 - 5: Either on Oct 4 or 5
MOE urged all students and staff to continue practising good personal hygiene, adhere to safe management measures and exercise social responsibility. The ministry said it will implement additional measures to keep schools safe, where necessary.
The move to HBL comes amid another wave of Covid-19 infections in Singapore, which is expecting to see 1,000 new cases a day soon.
Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary said in Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 14) that the 367 Covid-19 cases among children below the age of 12 account for 0.6 per cent of all local infections.