Singapore is slowly loosening up its “circuit breaker” measures as the country tries to reintroduce normalcy for its people. In the education sector, the Ministry for National Development announced that schools will start asking their students to go back for face-to-face classes.
In the COVID-19 virtual press conference held on May 2, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said that the first group of students that will be asked are the graduating cohorts that are scheduled to take their national exams. Namely, the Primary 6, Secondary 4-5, and JC2 students.
They will also allow schools to assist students who require practical classes and consultations such as those from ITE schools.
However, these schools must follow strict guidelines to keep both students and teachers safe. The other students of schools will still remain at home and utilise the online learning platforms until further notice.
Attending School is not Compulsory
On Sunday, Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung said that schools can start inviting students from the graduating batch to go back to school but it will not be made compulsory.
In the Facebook post, the minister said that the effort aims to help students prepare for their national examinations and seek their teachers for help. These students will be given the chance to use school equipment and facilities for their practical courses.
When these students do come back to the school, they will be following safe distancing measures to ensure that they continue to stay safe even in the school.
Scheduling will also be done and the classes will only be done in small batches. Schools will also be using well-ventilated areas to hold meetings. Teachers who were asked to go back to work starting this week, meanwhile, will be given “protected rest time” so they can recharge and prepare their classes before May 19’s school reopening.
The Ministry of Health had earlier posted its assessment that while graduating students can continue their classes online, they are still anxious about its impacts to their classes. Ong agreed with this assessment and said there are educational courses that require educational facilities that must be used in person.
The new measures can help these students and alleviate their concerns, especially now that national exams are coming.
National examinations for students were not cancelled or postponed despite the pandemic as reported here, but changes are to be made with regards to its content.
Tips to Prep Your Child into School Mode
If your child is a part of the graduating cohorts that will be asked to go back to school for their classes, it is important that they are ready to make the transition. Some students may be surprised to go back to school after staying at home for months and only doing their courses online.
Here are some tips to help you prepare them back to school mode:
Reintroduce your child’s school-time sleeping routine
Since your children will be asked to go back to school, they will need to wake up early to get there on time.
A good way to get them back to school mode is by reintroducing their regular sleep routine where they have to sleep early and wake up early. You can start reintroducing the routine a week or more before the school reopens. This explains why sleep is important for our children.
Reintroduce a school-like schedule
Aside from getting their sleep routines back to their school setup, you should also reintroduce their school routine throughout the day.
You can do this by waking them at a set time every day. A few days before the school session starts, you should get your child to do outdoor activities and tell them to go back inside after a certain time as if they are doing their physical education classes in school.
This will help them adjust their activities accordingly and get ready for their classes.
Sort out an after-school guide for your child
Since there is still a need to maintain social distancing outdoors due to the pandemic, you should create an after-school guide which your child should follow once they are finished with their school work.
This guide can list down the list of places they can visit, how they can protect themselves while outdoors, and house rules if they will be left alone at home.
Practice this guide religiously so your child won’t get confused when you ask them to follow it during their school days.
Check their school curriculum and other relevant information
Schools often send information packets and curriculum guides for parents to peruse to know what their children will be doing for the incoming school year.
Some of these materials are sent online for easy access and review. Take some time to review these materials and mark down key information in your calendar such as exams and deadlines. Revision is crucial at this point to make sure every student is align with the curriculum. If your child is struggling to get this part ready for school, our online tutors are here to help.
Emphasis on personal hygiene, importance of wearing mask and social distancing
You should also take time to teach your child (especially those in Pri 6 since they are the youngest in the graduating cohort), personal hygiene practices which they should regularly do while in school. This includes wearing a mask, which is now required for all to use, regular hand washing and social distancing.
Ministry of Health released several tips on what you can teach to your children. You should also make it a point to prepare a personal hygiene kit for them to bring, which should include an extra mask, sanitiser or alcohol and gloves.
As parents, it is understandable that we have worries when it comes to our children’s educational future.
Although there are online learning platforms and resources which they can use for their national exams, there are subjects that rely heavily on practical applications. With the reopening of schools for graduating cohorts, this opens opportunities for your children to take.
However, it is important that if you will allow your child to go to school despite the lingering threat of the COVID-19 virus, you should prepare them to practice proper hygiene and do other recommended precautions to protect themselves from the virus like eating these food to increase their immunity. They must also be ready to follow the rules set by the school for their classes and take advantage of the opportunity presented to them.
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