Covid-19: How Will Singapore Schools Reopen?

Singapore’s MOE schools reopened today for small groups of students taking national exams - and all schools will reopen from June 2. They will look very different to when campuses closed in early April. Here’s what to expect so far…
This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19
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This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19

Small groups of primary and secondary students in graduating cohorts returned to local school campuses on May 19th. And more students will return to classrooms across Singapore from June 2 after the seven-week closure of all schools.

On May 19, local schools in Singapore started to reopen for students taking national exams including Primary 6, Secondary 4 and 5, Junior College 2 and Pre-University 3. Local schools are currently on a mid-year break until June 1, but small groups of students are allowed onto campus for face-to-face lessons.

As the government actively plans for a "controlled and phased exit" to the circuit breaker, we look at how schools and kindergartens are preparing to reopen.

Read more: Singapore Schools Reopen on June 2

MOE guidelines have been issued for the safe reopening of schools

Health and safety measures on campus

The Ministry of Education has issued a series of safety management measures to schools.

  • All students and staff must wear masks (except during PE lessons)
  • There will be daily temperature checks
  • Start and end times for the school day will be staggered to avoid congestion
  • Students and staff who are unwell, or live with anyone on a Stay Home Notice or with flu-like symptoms, must stay at home
  • There must be minimal intermingling of classes and year groups
  • Strict hygiene measures will include frequent handwashing and cleaning
  • There will be fixed exam-style seating in classrooms and spaced seating in canteens or alternative venues

Minister of Education Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post:

"Many students will be excited to return to school. Parents may be looking forward to school opening too, especially if they have to return to work. But I am sure parents are also worried about their children’s safety. Rest assured that we will take whatever precautions we can to ensure the well-being of all students and staff."

Safe Entry at the school gate

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.

Pre-school Covid tests

All local pre-school staff will be tested for Covid-19; principals, teachers, cleaners and cooks are among those to be given a one-time swab test paid for by the government. A date has yet to be set for the reopening of pre-schools in Singapore.

So far, about 6,000 staff have been swabbed, said minister for social and family development Desmond Lee; around 30,000 preschool and early intervention staff will be tested by May 26.

In a Facebook post, Lee said: "The tests will help safeguard the health and well-being of our preschool community, and give peace of mind to the staff, their families and parents of preschool children."

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