School Closures Extended Until June 1

All MOE and private schools will close until June 1 as part of a four-week extension of all circuit breaker measures, the government announced today.
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

All local and international schools will remain temporarily closed until June 1, as part of the government's battle to limit the rising number of Covid-19 cases. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced today (April 21) that the Covid-19 circuit breaker will be extended by another month and existing measures will be tightened until May 4.

The city-state is now 15 days into circuit breaker measures and there has been a blanket closure of all schools since April 8; they were originally due to reopen on May 4. Since then, schools have switched to distance learning programmes. Singapore is in partial lockdown as social gatherings are banned, and only essential businesses are now allowed to operate.

All Ministry of Education-run local schools will now start their mid-year school holidays earlier from May 5 to cover the extended circuit breaker period.

In a Facebook post, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said:

"By 1 June 2020, hopefully the situation will be much better, and we can look forward to a safe and orderly opening of schools.

"This would mean that Term 3 will be very long. So we will factor in an additional one week, mid-term break from 20-26 July. Term 3 will comprise 7 weeks, one week break and then 6 weeks. Most teachers will use the break to review or re-plan their lessons."

Read more: Singapore School Closures: Week 1

To date, there are 9,125 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Singapore, with 1,111 new cases announced today (April 21). Almost all new cases were detected in Singapore's migrant worker dormitories, and the number of new cases in the local community has levelled off to below 30 new cases daily.

In his speech today, Lee said: 

"On the whole, people have coped well. Most of us have played our part, staying at home, complying with the restrictions. We have adjusted to working from home and home-based learning. When outside, we wear masks and keep a safe distance from others. And we have kept to our immediate family units and avoided gatherings with extended family and friends."

He added:

"We want to bring down the community numbers decisively. We also want to make sure that if any leakage occurs from the dorms to the wider community, we can detect and contain it early, and prevent new clusters from forming and bursting out of control. To achieve these two objectives, we must all hunker down and press on with our tight circuit breaker measures...

"I hope you understand that this short-term pain is to stamp out the virus, protect the health and safety of our loved ones, and allow us to revive our economy.”

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