The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Tuesday (May 19) that there will be additional precautionary measures in place when schools resume on Jun. 2, after the circuit breaker ends on Jun. 1.
In addition to measures such as wearing masks when not doing physical activity and examination-style seating arrangements, MOE also announced that primary school, secondary school, and pre-university students will return to school in two phases.
Precautionary measures for schools
In a press conference by the multi-ministry task force for Covid-19, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung announced that the following arrangements will be made to bring students back to schools in a careful and safe manner.
Entering and leaving school
Schools will screen everyone entering the schools, and visitors will have their temperatures taken at the entrance.
Schools will also adopt the SafeEntry system in order to track the entry of visitors, vendors, and staff.
All students will primarily wear face masks or face shields as an alternative while in school, except while eating or when involved in activities such as running and exercise workouts with safe distancing.
Students will arrive and leave at slightly different times in order to minimise congestion, especially on public transport.
Students will have their assembly period, when they will say the pledge and have their attendance taken, in their classrooms.
Teachers will conduct temperature-taking for students and visually check for flu-like symptoms daily.
Students will have fixed examination-style seating arrangements, one metre apart.
Teachers will wear a face mask or shield when conducting lessons, and students will primarily wear masks or face shields as an alternative when needed.
Students will practise safe management measures, such as wiping down surfaces and washing hands, before leaving the classroom.
To ensure that students remain active and keep healthy, the ministry explained, schools will resume physical education lessons when they resume, with strict adherence to safe management measures.
During PE lessons, students and PE teachers will not be required to wear masks when involved in activities such as running and exercise workouts with safe distancing. This is in line with the existing guidelines about not needing to wear masks while exercising.
However, they will need to wear their masks at other times.
PE equipment will not be shared among students during the lesson, and will be wiped down before being returned.
Taking into consideration that students may not be sufficiently prepared physically, the National Physical Fitness Award (NAPFA) this year will be cancelled.
There will be safe distancing measures employed in the canteen.
Recess timings will be staggered, and canteens will have queue markers and designated seating.
Primary school students are encouraged to wear their face shields in the canteen when eating and drinking.
Students will be reminded to remove and re-wear their masks properly before and after their meal. After they have eaten, they will wipe down their area, wash their hands and put on their masks again.
Other precautionary measures
High-touch surfaces such as railings and door handles will be cleaned regularly and frequently.
To minimise intermingling of student groups, students will play in designated areas within their class. There will also be safe management measures in place, such as ensuring students wash their hands with soap and water after play.
Precautionary measures at IHLs
The Ministry announced that Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) will adopt similar measures as schools, to ensure safe management on campus.
Each person entering or leaving the campus will be required to check in and out using SafeEntry, and temperature and symptom screening will also be done at all entrances.
The start and end timings for lessons will also be staggered.
In order to reduce inter-mingling between students on campus, students will be asked to remain in their practical or lab groups, and student activities such as co-curricular activities will continue to be suspended until further notice.
Students will be required to wear masks at all times.
MOE stated the following in a press statement:
"MOE will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and provide the necessary support to our schools, educators and students, as they gradually resume lessons.
We will also respond accordingly in the weeks and months ahead and announce further updates if required, as the national posture evolves."
Top image via Ministry of Education Facebook.