Attending school cannot be made voluntary: Ong Ye Kung
Attending school cannot be made voluntary, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said yesterday.
In a Facebook post, Mr Ong said there have been some concerns after the announcement to reopen schools come June 2.
Some parents asked if their child can do home-based learning (HBL) if they are uncomfortable sending him to school.
Mr Ong said unless there are specific concerns arising from medical conditions, school cannot be made voluntary.
He said: "It is likely that Covid-19 will stay with us for more than a year and until a vaccine is available. We simply cannot keep our children at home for so long. The impact on their socio-emotional and mental well-being will be serious."
He said a voluntary system will not be good for the morale of both students and teachers, and it will also segregate students into those whose families are able to provide care at home, and those who cannot.
It is also unsustainable for teachers to juggle classroom teaching and facilitating HBL for every lesson.
Mr Ong added that some parents said their child will have difficulty wearing a mask for the whole day.
To this, he said they can choose between wearing either a face mask or a face shield when in school, and schools will be making arrangements to distribute face shields to all pre-school and primary school students in Term 3.
Mr Ong said: "Teachers will help the young children get used to the masks or shields with time. If there are special circumstances, teachers will also exercise flexibility."