What parents need to know before in-person classes in primary school start from Oct 11

SINGAPORE – Primary 1 to 6 pupils will start resuming in-person classes from Monday (Oct 11), while exams for Primary 3 and 4 pupils will be cancelled, said the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The Straits Times takes a closer look at what primary school pupils and parents need to know before classes resume.

1. Resumption of face-to-face classes in phases

From Monday, Primary 3 to 6 pupils will return to school.

The phased return will ensure that safe management measures are implemented effectively as pupils return to school, said MOE.

Primary 1 and 2 pupils will continue home-based learning on Monday and Tuesday.

They will return for face-to-face lessons only from Wednesday (Oct 13).

Those from special education schools will be given more details on the phased resumption.

MOE said it had earlier put in place home-based learning from Sept 27 to Oct 8 to reduce any disruption to the cohort taking the PSLE and as an extra precautionary measure.

Co-curricular activities and other after-school activities will remain suspended for all levels, including secondary schools, Junior Colleges and Millennia Institute.

2. Mandatory self-testing before return to school

Parents of Primary 1 to 5 pupils are to give their children an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) swab on either Friday or Saturday before to returning to school. They will need to report the results via a link that will be sent to them.

Previously, MOE had encouraged Primary 1 to 5 pupils to take an ART test on either Monday or Tuesday to allow for sufficient time to take a polymerase chain reaction test (PCR) if needed.

MOE said Primary 6 pupils were already back in schools earlier to sit the PSLE between Sept 30 and Wednesday.

3. Cancellation of year-end exams for Primary 3 and 4 pupils

These pupils will not need to take exams given the disruptions to their studies wrought about by Covid-19, said MOE.

MOE said schools will be able to draw on information from a range of school-based assessments conducted throughout the year to assess the progress made by students. They will also be used to provide feedback and make recommendations on students’ subject combination such as whether to offer the standard or foundation level for some subjects from the start of Primary 5.

MOE said the year-end exams for Primary 5 pupils will still proceed under strict safe management measures.

This will help get a handle on the child’s learning progress in relation to the Achievement Level scoring system used for the Primary School Leaving Examination, it added.

Under the new scoring system announced in 2016, each standard-level PSLE subject will be scored using eight bands.

This was first implemented for those sitting the PSLE this year.

4. No school for primary school pupils from Oct 18 to Oct 22

The PSLE Marking Exercise will take place over four days from Oct 18 to Oct 21.

It is normal practice for primary school students to not report to school during this period of marking, and there will be no home-based learning conducted.

MOE said for this “exceptional year”, the day after the PSLE Marking Exercise on Oct 22, will be a school holiday for primary schools.

All primary school students will return to school from Oct 25.

Meanwhile, those from special education schools will continue to report to school from Oct 18 to Oct 22 – the usual practice for the PSLE Marking Exercise.

5. Resumption of classes at tuition centres and private education institutions

With the return of students to primary schools, lessons for students aged 12 and under at tuition and enrichment centres can resume face-to-face from Monday, with strict safe management measures in place.

However, MOE said it encourages centres to continue conducting classes online as far as possible.

Face-to-face classes for pupils aged 12 and below in private education institutions can also resume from Monday, with an eye on all prevailing national guidelines.

Centres with similar student profiles and that conduct similar activities to schools are strongly advised to take reference from measures in schools, and adopt them if possible.

This includes the return of pupils in phases, and self-testing of pupils before returning to school. They can also continue to implement home-based learning for their pupil.