Education Minister Lawrence Wong said in Parliament on Monday (5 October) that the Ministry of Education (MOE) is looking at different ways in order to allow resuming more in-person activities in schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).
Mr Wong said this in response to a question asked by People’s Action Party (PAP) MP for West Coast GRC Foo Mee Har. She asked if the Ministry will consider allowing universities and schools to return to more normalised face-to-face activities and classes when TraceTogether tokens are in widespread use with safe distancing measures in place.
The Education Minister explained that students from all levels have returned to their daily lessons in schools and IHLs now, and lower risks co-curricular activities (CCAs) have also resumed.
“Students from all levels have resumed daily lessons in our schools. Lower risks co-curricular activities and other activities have also resumed,” he said.
He added, “Likewise, the Institute of Higher Learning (IHLs) have gradually increased the number of students allowed back on campus for practicum, laboratory sessions and other classes.”
He went on to mention that IHLs have also been “progressively” allowing selected non-timetable activities, like project discussions and certain student activities, to return to campus.
In April this year, the Government rolled out full home-based learning after a spike of COVID-19 cases in Singapore, forcing the country to implement the “circuit breaker”. However, school resumed on 2 June after the end of the “circuit breaker” period, with graduating students attending school daily while other students rotate between home-based learning and going to school every week.
Given that CCAs and other activities have slowly began to resume, Mr Wong noted that the Ministry now has “effective safe management measures” along with a rapid contact tracing system in place at schools and IHLs.
“We have also improved capabilities to detect community cases quickly through our expanded testing regime and we are exploring the monitoring of ways to water in student hostels,” he said.
He continued, “With these conditions in place, we are now studying ways to resume more in-person activities safely in our schools and IHLs, as the member has suggested”.
“These activities, together with the resumption of wider range of CCAs another activity is important because we must strive to provide our students with a holistic education experience while keeping risks to a manageable level,” explained Mr Wong, adding that MOE is working on the details and will share it in due course.