Back to School: Phase 1 Rules & Restrictions

How does the Phase 1 reopening of Singapore after the Covid-19 circuit breaker affect families and students?
Back to School: Phase 1 Rules & Restrictions
By Carli Allan
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Are you a family living with children preparing to return to school this week? Here's a list of what is allowed in schools, under Phase 1 of Singapore’s phased approach to ending the circuit breaker, which starts on June 2.

Local and international schools

All primary, secondary, Junior College (JC) and Millennia Institute (MI) students will return to school from Tuesday (June 2); they will alternate between being physically on campus and home-based learning on a weekly basis. Schools are expected to fully reopen at the end of June in Phase 2 of the end of the circuit breaker.

International schools are reopening under guidance from the Committee for Private Education (CPE). This states that schools cannot have more than 50% of students or staff on campus at any one time and they cannot offer after-school activities. Individual schools will have their own ‘back to school’ model, which varies between students attending every day, every other week, or every second or third day.

The majority of international schools are due to finish their academic year from mid-June, so they will be reopening campuses for just a few weeks ahead of the long summer break.

Under new health and safety measures, students at all schools must wear masks or a face shield (except for during PE lessons), there will be fixed exam-style seating, frequent handwashing and wipe down of surfaces, twice daily temperature checks, and staggered school timings.

Read more: How Will Singapore Schools Reopen and Tips for Preparing Your Child for Back to School

Pre-schools

All K1 and K2 classes at MOE kindergartens will return in phases from June 2. Kindergarten and pre-schoolers in the international schools sector are also returning from June 2.

Tuition classes

Tuition centres will remain closed during the Phase 1 period and can continue to offer online lessons; face-to-face lessons by private tutors are still not allowed.

Masks and face shields

All staff and students must wear either a face mask or face shield. Children and siblings under two years of age are not required to wear a mask. As anyone leaving their home is required to wear a mask or face shield, parents must remember to wear one for school drop-off and pick-up.

The MOE says: “During PE lessons, students and PE teachers will not be required to wear masks when doing strenuous physical activities such as running and drills for warm-ups. They will have to put on their masks at other times.

“For recess, primary school students are encouraged to wear their face shields in the canteen while eating and drinking. Face masks need not be worn while eating and drinking but should be worn at all other times during recess.”

Safe Entry

Anyone entering a school campus will have to use a national digital check-in system that enables contact tracers to find close contacts of infected cases. Launched by the Ministry of Health, the new Safe Entry system is compulsory at all schools and pre-schools in Singapore, as well as workplaces like offices and factories, supermarkets, hospitals, malls and hotels. You will need your ID card at the school gate to sign in.

Public transport

If your child is travelling to school on public transport, they must wear a mask - face shields are not allowed. Safe distancing should be observed. All commuters are expected to stand on the green stickers placed on buses and trains; it is not allowed to sit on seats labelled with orange stickers.

School supplies

All school bookshops and shops selling school uniforms are now open.

Sport and leisure

For families looking for after-school activities, it is worth noting that all playgrounds in parks remain shut, as well as public swimming pools, games courts and other fitness areas. Also, all pools and fitness facilities, and the beaches at East Coast Park, Changi Beach Park, Pasir Ris Park, Punggol Point, Sembawang Park and West Coast Park, remain closed.

Sports facilities are due to gradually reopen in Phase 2.

Play dates

There is still a ban on visiting or meeting anyone living in a different household, so do not start arranging any play dates with school friends just yet. If caught, there is a $300 fine.

Kids haircuts

If you need to get your child’s hair cut ready for ‘back to school’, hair salons are now open and offering all treatments that were disallowed under the circuit breaker.

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