Schools Close May 19: Return to Home Learning

The government announced today that all MOE schools will close from Wednesday until May 28 and move to full-time Home-Based Learning to control the new spike in Covid-19 cases; parents are waiting to hear from individual international schools as to whether they will close campuses too.
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 Ministry of Education-run schools in Singapore will move to full-time Home-Based Learning from Wednesday, May 19 until the end of term on May 28. The government announced local school closures today (May 16) due to a spike in unlinked Covid-19 cases; international schools can decide whether to close their campuses and move to online learning.

All local primary, secondary, junior college (JC) and Millennia Institute (MI) students, including students from Special Education (SPED) schools, will shift to full Home-Based Learning (HBL); graduation students can return to school in small groups during the June holiday, and mid-year GCE O and A Level exams will go ahead as planned with strict social distancing measures.

The MOE announced today:

"With the sharp increase in the number of community cases, including the spike in unlinked cases today, there is a need to reduce interactions and avoid the risk of large clusters. As such, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will be stepping up precautionary measures to safeguard the well-being of all students and staff."

The decision to close schools comes just days after the government announced stricter social distancing measures in all schools, both local and international. Singapore reported 38 new local cases of the virus today (Sunday), and has 93 domestic infections, compared to 55 in April and just nine in March. The rise in community cases has included several students, many linked to clusters from tuition centres, which has raised concerns about the potential spread in schools of the Indian variant of the virus in particular.

In a Facebook post, Lawrence Wong said:

"I know it’s not easy for everyone to adjust to learning from home. But our educators, parents and students have shown tremendous grit and resilience. Our schools are also fully prepared for this contingency. So I have confidence that we will be able to make the adjustment smoothly, and ensure learning continues for all our students.

"With this move towards full HBL, we will also be able to further reduce our overall interactions and movement, and stay home as much as possible. Ultimately that’s the best way to curb the spread of the virus. So let’s stay united and continue supporting one another, as we soldier through this critical period."

Singapore’s 90-plus international schools are governed by the CPE (Committee for Private Education) are unaffected by the MOE's move to HBL; they can decide, unilaterally, to close their campuses and move to online learning for a limited time.

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