SINGAPORE - Seven primary schools will move to home-based learning (HBL) for the next two weeks, until the end of term two on May 28, it was announced on Saturday (May 15), after a small number of pupils in those schools tested positive for Covid-19.
The cases are linked to tuition centres, and none of the pupils seems to have caught the virus while in school thus far.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) said the move is a precautionary measure.
The schools are:
1. Kong Hwa School
2. Palm View Primary School
3. St Andrew's Junior School
4. St Margaret's Primary School
5. St Stephen's School
6. Yio Chu Kang Primary School
7. Yu Neng Primary School
In the case of Yio Chu Kang Primary, pupils there are already on HBL, and this will be extended till May 28.
The MOE said that it is in contact with the schools to provide the necessary support, and is closely monitoring the well-being of pupils and staff identified as close contacts of confirmed cases.
In a Facebook post, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said he shared the same concerns as parents over the recent cases related to schoolchildren. “Our immediate priority is to ring-fence the schools with confirmed cases to safeguard the well-being of our students and staff.”
The minister added that from Monday, schools will implement heightened safe management measures. Classes will be strictly in cohorts, all co-curricular activities (CCAs) will be conducted online, and fixed seating with safe distancing for recess will be enforced, with no intermingling.
He also said private tuition and enrichment centres should move lessons online during this period, and inspections will be stepped up to ensure the safety of pupils.
“As we do our best to keep our students’ learning environment safe, MOE and the Ministry of Health are also working out the plans for vaccination of our students. Once the approval for use is granted, we will roll out vaccinations to those below 16,” he added.
Several pupils have been testing positive for the coronavirus in recent days, with many linked to the cluster at Learning Point tuition centre in Parkway.
Five of them – two from Kong Hwa, one from St Andrew’s Junior and two from St Stephen’s – had tested positive on May 13 after attending classes run by an infected private tutor at the centre.
Two pupils from St Andrew’s, who took the same school bus as one of the five, tested positive on Saturday.
Another four pupils from the same centre – two from Kong Hwa, one from St Margaret’s Primary and one from Yu Neng Primary – also tested positive on Saturday.
Another group of three pupils linked to the EduFirst Learning Centre in Hougang – two from Yio Chu Kang Primary and one from Palm View Primary – tested positive in recent days.
A Yio Chu Kang Primary pupil who attended the centre had tested positive on May 13, and other pupils from the centre were quarantined and tested. Two of them later tested positive.