Start of new school year to be staggered

K2 and P2 to P6 pupils to report on Jan 5 so that K1 and P1 kids can be better welcomed on Jan 4

Kindergarten 2 children attending a Chinese lesson at St James’ Church Kindergarten at its Harding campus in October. Kindergarten 2 and Primary 2 to Primary 6 children will enjoy an extra day of school holidays and return to school on Jan 5. Secon
Kindergarten 2 children attending a Chinese lesson at St James’ Church Kindergarten at its Harding campus in October. Kindergarten 2 and Primary 2 to Primary 6 children will enjoy an extra day of school holidays and return to school on Jan 5. Secondary schools will reopen on Jan 4. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

When the official school year starts on Jan 4 for Ministry of Education (MOE) kindergartens and primary schools, only Kindergarten 1 children and Primary 1 pupils need to report to their new schools.

Kindergarten 2 and Primary 2 to Primary 6 children will remain at home and report to school only on Jan 5. It will be an extra day of school holidays for them.

MOE said yesterday that special education and secondary schools will also reopen on Jan 4, while junior colleges and the Millennia Institute (MI) will start on Jan 11.

On the earlier start date for K1 and P1 children, MOE said this is to better welcome the younger children, and ensure that safe management measures can be implemented effectively.

“If needed, at most one parent/ guardian will be allowed to accompany their K1 or P1 child/ward to their new school to familiarise (them) with the new environment, while still keeping all students safe,” it said.

Housewife Joanna Tan, 40, who has a son and a daughter starting P6 and P2 respectively next year, said her children were overjoyed that they have an extra day’s break.

“We’ll be spending the day relaxing and making sure all their books are packed and everything is ready,” she said.

Mrs Tan added: “It’s a good move, especially for the P1s. It will be easier for the school with fewer students to manage on the first day. There are also a lot of new routines for the P1s and their parents to learn and get used to.”

Schools will reopen fully with most co-curricular activities and school activities allowed, and higher-risk activities suspended or limited to a smaller group size.

Students need not have their TraceTogether tokens when schools reopen, but the tokens will be required in schools after nationwide distribution is completed.

The ministry added that kindergarten care will not be open for K2 children on Jan 4, to allow the MOE kindergartens to accommodate the parents of K1 children on that day. ​

  • Reopening dates

    JAN 4

    • Ministry of Education (MOE) Kindergarten 1 children

    • Primary 1 pupils

    • Secondary school students

    • Special education school students

    JAN 5

    • MOE Kindergarten 2 children

    • Primary 2 to Primary 6 pupils

    JAN 11

    • Junior college students

    • Millennia Institute students

However, school-based student care centres will be open on Jan 4 for P2 to P6 pupils enrolled in such centres.

Secondary schools, junior colleges and MI will resume their school year as scheduled, and parents or guardians will be allowed only to drop off their child or ward at school.

MOE said that safe management measures will continue to be observed to ensure that schools remain a safe place for teaching and learning. These include the visual screening and temperature-taking of individuals and safe distancing between students and staff.

The ministry reminded students who are unwell, with flu-like symptoms such as fever or cough, to seek medical attention and stay away from school.

From mid-February to late February next year, the National School Games will resume for sports across A, B and Senior divisions which meet the national guidelines. These include badminton, gymnastics and sailing.

Sports such as football, hockey and netball are still not allowed. MOE said it is working on how these sports can resume “in a safe and meaningful way”.

From late March to early May, the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation for secondary schools, JCs and MI will also resume for events which meet the national guidelines. These include band, dance and drama.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 19, 2020, with the headline 'Start of new school year to be staggered'. Subscribe