Covid-19

Dear Families,

As shared by the Singapore Government and announced in the local media, Singapore’s Multi-Ministry Task Force has confirmed that we will exit the current circuit breaker across the island and adopt a controlled approach to resuming activities safely, over three phases. Phase one begins on Tuesday 2nd June at the end of this current circuit breaker.

In response to this Government directive, Singapore’s Ministry of Education (MOE) and Committee of Private Education have shared extensive guidance including safe management measures, and enhanced precautionary measures with international schools. This site provides an overview of how these extensive practices and procedures will continue to be carried out and implemented across EtonHouse Thomson.

With these procedures in place and with a phased reopening of our school, we will be strongly emphasising safety, and minimising the risk of transmission across our school community, our families and loved ones.

Safe Management Procedures

This page will be updated regularly in accordance with the latest directives from and in accordance to government regulations from the Ministry of Education and the Committee of Private Education. It is designed to give clear instructions for our school community on our planned reopening procedures as per the directives from the government:

  1. Enhanced Precautionary Measures for Preschools Against COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), Circular released by ECDA 19th May 2020 further shared by CPE 20th May 2020
  2. Arrangements for School and Institutes of Higher Learning at End of Circuit Breaker released by Ministry of Education Singapore 19th May 2020
  3. New Requirements for Safe Management Measures at the Workplace After Circuit Breaker Period released by Ministry of Manpower, 9th May 2020
  4. End of Circuit Breaker Phased Approach to Resuming Activities Safely, released Ministry of Health Singapore, 19th May 2020 further shared by CPE 20th May 2020
  5. Safe Management Measure for COVID-Safe Foreign System Kindergartens (FSKs): COVID-Safe ABCs, released by Ministry of Education, 20th May 2020
  6. Expanded Surveillance Testing for COVID-19, press release by Ministry of Education, 7th June 2020 further shared by CPE 11th June 2020
  7. Enhanced Precautionary Measures for Preschools Against COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), released by ECDA 16th July 2020
  8. Enhanced Precautionary Measures for Preschools Against COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), released by ECDA 22nd August 2020 further shared by MOE & CPE
  9. Enhanced Precautionary Measures for Preschools Against COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), released by ECDA 24th September 2020 further shared by MOE

 

EtonHouse Thomson will continue to work together with the Singapore government to closely adhere to these directives to ensure a safe environment for our children, families, staff and the wider Singapore community.

Staggered Drop-Off and Pick-Up

As per the directives from the Ministry of Education to reduce congestion, schools must stagger arrival and dismissal times in various ways, such as according to the academic level of the students or mode of transport (for instance, letting students who take the school bus leave first).

Schools “must engage parents to put in place staggered drop-off and pick-up times for classes to prevent the formation of queues and crowding at the school. To facilitate this, schools have the flexibility to make adjustments to existing timetables.”

(Ministry of Education, 20 May 2020)

The Committee of Private Education also mandates that schools enforce appropriate adjustments to the timetable to stagger start / end times, to ease localised congestion and avoid build-up at transport points, including bus stops.

 

Morning Drop-off

  • Staggered timings will reduce congestion across the entry points. Where possible, families who arrive by car/taxi are strongly encouraged to drive-through and drop-off their children at the main entrance at the top of the school. Where possible drop-off your child(ren) at the door that is closest to their classroom. 
  • Teaching teams will coordinate staggered drop off timings, adhering to the sibling with the earlier staggered drop off time.

 

Afternoon Pick Up

  • Allocated pick up points have been planned in accordance to respective class locations to minimise crossing over areas in the school. 
  • Teaching teams will coordinate staggered pick up timings, adhering to the sibling with the earlier staggered pick up time.

 

School Bus Riders

  • Arrival at school before 8.30am
  • Depart school at 3.15pm 

Thomson- Staggered Time for Main Building Thomson- Staggered Time for Annex Building

Health and Safety Guidance

In accordance with the Singapore government’s careful and calibrated approach in Phase Two of reopening for Singapore,, safety is our number one priority. The strengthening of public health awareness and building a culture of COVID-Safe habits among children, parents and staff will continue to be a priority at the school.

  • Thorough cleaning and disinfection of the school premises has been conducted over the break and in preparation for the new academic year.

 

  • As part of the government’s measures, all staff will undergo a one-time swab test prior to the reopening of school on 2 June 2020. 

 

  • Safe Management Officers (SMOs) have been appointed within our school community who would be responsible for implementation, coordination and monitoring of safe management measures.

 

  • Establishing the SafeEntry system to collect entry and exit information of visitors, staff and children to facilitate contact tracing. SafeEntry is only necessary for persons entering the school premises and does not apply to parents dropping off or picking up children, school bus drivers etc. 

 

  • Schools are to strongly encourage all staff and families to download and activate the TraceTogether app. This will help record proximity data, for travel to and from school and on school grounds. Data recorded by TraceTogether is stored on the user’s phone, and is only uploaded when required by MOH, e.g. when the user is suspected to have COVID-19.

 

  • Parents must complete and update their travel declaration via EtonHouse Kagami platform.  

 

  • Parents must continue to update the school of any child and/or any household member under Quarantine Order, Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and Leave of Absence (LOA).

 

  • Following a collective reflection and feedback on the Home-Based Learning that was conducted in April, the school has outlined the plan for Home-Based Learning. These will be the arrangements that will be in place in the event when the Covid-19 situation changes and the national stance requires schools to move into Home-Based Learning.

Students

  • All children aged 2 years and above are to continue to wear masks or face shields in the school. Children who may have difficulties wearing a mask may use face shields as an alternative. Mask-wearing is not required for very young children below the age of 2 years for safety reasons. As outlined by the government, masks or face shields must be worn outside homes, including on the journey to and from school.
  • Masks will not be worn when children are engaged in strenuous physical activities outdoors and during PE or during nap and meal times.
  • Children returning from QO or SHN will be tested as per the existing national policy for QO/SHN before returning to the school. Individuals will be informed directly by relevant government agencies on the necessary procedures.

Thomson - Measures for Students

Upon arrival

  • In addition to the temperature taking, hand santising and visual screening as the children enter the school building, teachers will also explicitly ask each child and check for symptoms of illness upon arrival into the classroom:
  1. Have you been having a fever?
  2. Do you have a cough?
  3. Do you have a sore throat?
  4. Do you have a runny nose?
  5. Do you have shortness of breath?
  6. Do you have a loss of sense of smell?
  7. Are you unwell in any way (besides the above)?
  8. Are there adult household members who are unwell with fever and/or flu-like symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath?

(Ministry of Education Singapore, 20 May 2020)

  • Staggered drop-off and pick-up times for classes. Children are to proceed directly into their classrooms on arrival. Children from different classes to use separate routes and entrances/exits, where available.
  • All children will be checked-in by their teachers using SafeEntry upon entering and arrival into their respective classrooms.

Within the classroom

  • Children within each class will be split into smaller groups of no more than 10 children. Teaching teams will carefully consider the groupings of children to best support the teaching and learning in the class. Children must remain in their small group and not switch groups.
  • Classrooms will be clearly demarcated to support children with staying within their small group. Where reasonably practicable to do so, designated seating will be assigned.
  • Lunches will be taken in the respective classrooms to avoid mixing between classes.
  • Cots for the younger children will be assigned individually within the class and will be wiped down and cleaned after each use.

In common areas around the school

  • Children will not interact across the different classes along walkways, corridors or common spaces. Outdoor play will be staggered to keep classes separate. Children will remain in their split smaller groupings when outdoors.
  • Demarcated lines and social distancing stickers are prominently displayed for children to ensure that they practise social distancing and stand 1 metre apart in the common areas around the school.
  • All water, sensory and sand play activities to be suspended.
  • When engaging in outdoor activities, there must be minimal physical contact among staff and children. The activity should not be vigorous and children are to continue to wear masks/face shields, as far as possible.
  • Physical Education experiences will be non-contact activities and whereby children remain in their smaller groupings. 
  • To ensure minimal staff movement across classes, specialist teachers will plan for the experiences to be carried out in the respective classrooms, with the specialist teachers conducting the sessions digitally via MS Teams.
  • Assemblies and large-group communal activities will not be held. Excursion and field trips that expose children to large crowds continue to be suspended. All celebrations for special events such as graduation will be suspended as per government regulations. 

Personal health and hygiene

  • Children will be reminded to practise good personal hygiene (avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth) and to throw away used tissue immediately into a foot-pedal bin. There will be no sharing of food or drinks and eating utensils.
  • Temperature screening and hand santising will continue upon their arrival at school each morning. Temperature taking will continue at three scheduled times daily. 
  • Students will be encouraged and reminded to wash their hands regularly throughout the day, at least every 2 hours. Instructions on the correct way to wash our hands are predominantly displayed at the relevant areas and will continue to be reiterated and practised.
  • In addition, children will be required to stay away from school if they are:
  1. unwell, or 
  2. have adult household members who are unwell with flu-like symptoms, or
  3. have adult household members on home quarantine/Stay-Home Notice

  (Ministry of Education, 20 May 2020)

Thomson - Visual Health Checks

  • Staff will remain vigilant of any symptoms of illness displayed by any child (i.e. have fever and/or flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, cough, shortness of breath). 
  • Children who are feeling unwell during the school day will be immediately isolated in the sick bay and their parents/guardians will be notified to pick them from school and bring them to seek medical attention. A child may only return to school when the medical certificate period is over and when he/she does not exhibit any symptoms of illness.
  • Any child who is unwell must consult a doctor immediately and the school must be notified. As part of the government’s expanded surveillance testing, children who are unwell and if your child presents respiratory symptoms like cough, sore throat and runny nose, he/she will be assessed by the doctor for Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI). They may be issued a 5-day MC in the first instance, and be required to stay home during their 5-day MC. If he/she is still unwell at the end of 5 days, he/she should return to the same doctor for follow-up assessment, including whether testing is required.

School bus riders

  • School bus riders will have their temperatures taken by the bus attendant prior to boarding. We kindly ask that families also take their child’s temperature at home before sending your child to board the bus. 
  • If your child has a temperature of 37.6 or above either when tested at home or whilst boarding the bus they must not under any circumstances be sent to school. 
  • Masks must be worn on the bus and each rider will be assigned a seat. Where reasonably practicable to do so, alternate seating will be assigned. 
  • School buses are cleaned and sanitised before children’s use every time.

Swimming for Year 1 to Year 6 students

  • Students will be in groups of maximum 5 and working with 1 instructor.
  • Students will be swimming 1 at a time within their groups of 5 for safe distancing measures.
  • Changing areas will be cleaned before, throughout group change overs and at the end of sessions.
  • Students will be asked to shower before and after swim sessions.
  • Equipment will be sanitised before and after each swimming group.
  • Swimming instructors will be wearing face shields and will have completed school entry health requirements.

Photo-taking for individual school photographs

  • Photos of the children must be taken individually, i.e. no class/group photos.
  • Photo-taking sessions must be cohorted by class, i.e. no mixing of classes.
  • If a common area is used for the photo-taking session, high touch point areas should be wiped down and disinfected between sessions/classes.
  • The photographer and staff must wear masks at all times.
  • Each child may remove his/her mask or shield momentarily for photo-taking and put on the mask/shield immediately after the photo is taken.
  • Safe distancing of at least 1 metre between the child and the photographer will be ensured.

Celebration of special events

  • Schools may conduct celebrations only at a class level and must ensure no mixing of groups/classes.
  • Classes should minimise actions such as singing loudly as they increase expulsion of droplets that may contain viral particles and raise the risk of transmission of diseases. Children and staff should also avoid sharing a microphone.
  • External visitors remain disallowed (e.g. parents should not be invited to attend the celebration).
  • If there are birthday cakes, there must be no blowing of candles. Birthday cakes that are brought into school must be commercially sealed and from a NEA-approved source.

Parents and Guardians

  • Parents must wear masks and practise social distancing. Please work in collaboration with the school to educate your child(ren) on proper mask wearing/removal and handling habits. As outlined by the government, masks or face shields must be worn outside homes, including on the journey to and from school.
  • Parents are not allowed into the school building. This is in adherence to the regulations from the Ministry of Education. Children must be dropped off at the doors of the main school building. Where possible, if you are arriving by car/taxi, stay in the car and drop your child off. 
  • Limit your time on the school grounds to drop-off and pick-up. Adhere to the staggered drop-off and 10-minute staggered pick-up duration “to prevent the formation of queues and crowding” at schools (Ministry of Education, 20 May 2020).
  • Do not bring friends and when possible, additional family members onto the school grounds. This includes during the staggered drop-off and pick-up. Please ensure that only one adult per family will be at the allocated pick up location.
  • Parents accompanying newly enrolled children must adhere to the following: only one parent may accompany the child and there should only be a total of one parent in a class on any given day. To minimise visitors, the same parent should accompany their child. Parent may accompany their child for only half a day for the first 2 days of school. Parents accompanying their children should limit interactions to only their child and their child’s teachers.

Thomson - Measures for Parents

  • Doors to the main school buildings will have clearly demarcated queues for families to stand 1 metre apart. When on the school grounds, please practise social distancing and stand at least 1 metre apart from others around you. As per the government regulations, schools are to “inform parents/guardians to not mingle with one another at drop-off/pick-up points.” (Ministry of Education, 20 May 2020)
  • Any communication between the parents and the staff must be via emails, phone calls or video conferencing. For matters requiring a quicker response during school hours, kindly use the MS Team chat function to contact your child’s teachers directly.
  • Parents and guardians must wear your EtonHouse Thomson Parent & Guardian Passes at all times when entering and on school grounds. As per our ongoing measures, anyone without the Parent & Guardian Pass will be required to complete the Visitor’s Form and will be asked by security to check in and check out via SafeEntry. 
  • Parents must complete and update their travel declaration via EtonHouse Kagami platform. 
  • Parents must continue to update the school of any child and/or any household member under Quarantine Order, Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and Leave of Absence (LOA). 
  • Staff and children returning from QO or SHN will be tested as per the existing national policy for QO/SHN before returning to the school.

Thomson - LOA SHN Requirements

  • Before sending your child to school, parents must ensure that your child displays no signs of illness. Kindly ask anyone who may be caring for your child in your absence to do the same. As an increased government precautionary measure, if there is an adult household member who is unwell with fever and/or flu-like symptoms, the child will also be required to stay away from school.
  • Since 2 June 2020, the government has expanded surveillance testing for COVID-19. As per the guidelines by Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education, parents must inform the school if your child is unwell and must see a doctor. If he/she presents respiratory symptoms like cough, sore throat and runny nose, your child will be assessed by the doctor for Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI). The school is mandated and required to issue a letter of identification that must be brought along and given to the doctor at consultation. They may be issued a 5-day MC in the first instance, and be required to stay home during their 5-day MC. If he/she is still unwell at the end of 5 days, he/she should return to the same doctor for follow-up assessment, including whether testing is required.Students will also be required to bring with them their student pass and/or another form of identification with their NRIC/FIN number. Please refer to the FAQs below for more details on this surveillance testing.
  • The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has monitored the situation and assessed that there are several countries/regions where the virus situation is well under control and the risk of importation is low. The Taskforce has therefore updated Singapore’s border measures accordingly. Travellers from low risk countries will undergo a Covid-19 test upon arrival at the airport will be allowed to go about their activities and return to school after receiving a negative test result.

Staff

  • As part of the government’s measures and on an ongoing basis since June 2020, staff diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) will be tested for COVID-19. Staff should present their staff IDs for identification when seeing a doctor. If a test is required, the staff will be referred to undergo a test. Results will be available within three working days and the staff will be notified via SMS or call by the doctor on the outcome of the results. While waiting for the result, the staff should remain at home and avoid contact with other persons.

 

  • Safe Management Officers (SMOs) have been appointed within our school community who would be responsible for implementation, coordination and monitoring of safe management measures.

 

  • Staff are required to wear masks or face shields in the school and to model and practise proper mask wearing/removal and handling habits with the children. Surgical masks must be worn by staff when conducting health checks and should refrain from any form of physical contact with children. If any physical contact with a child, staff or visitor, santise hands immediately before resuming health checks.

 

  • Staff must be vigilant of their personal health and promptly seek medical attention. Staff are advised not to clinic-hop.

 

  • When accompanying an unwell child in the sick bay, the staff must keep a distance of more than 2 metres from the child, be wearing a mask and practice hand hygiene after contact with the child. The sick bay will be wiped down after every use.

 

  • Staff will plan for learning experiences that avoid close physical contact among children and staff. All water, sensory and sand play activities to be suspended.

 

  • Staff must maintain high levels of environmental hygiene. Regular cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day, of frequently touched areas such as door handles, handrails, water taps. Communal toys and resources will be disinfected on a daily basis.

 

  • Non-teaching staff should minimise interaction with children.

 

  • Staff must not be cross-deployed across schools or to more than 2 classes within the same school.

 

  • To ensure minimal staff movement across classes, specialist teachers will plan for the experiences to be carried out in the respective classrooms, with the specialist teachers conducting the sessions digitally via MS Teams.

 

  • Internal and external staff meetings will be conducted virtually. Staff are not to socialise or congregate in groups at common areas, such as staff lounge and pantry, including during meals or breaks. Staff are reminded not to socialise outside the workplace.

 

Visitors

  • Only visitors who are needed to support the running of the school may enter the premises. Visitors who are on QO, SHN or LOA will not be allowed to enter the school.

 

  • Schools are to continue to adhere to the following safe management measures for all supplementary programmes, including enrichment. Schools should not start any programmes if they are not ready to meet the required safe management measures yet:
    • Persons conducting supplementary (such as ECAs) programmes must engage children strictly within their existing classes. Schools are not allowed to combine children from different classes for any supplementary programme session. Where children are split into smaller groups within their regular class, they must remain within the same groups when attending the supplementary programme sessions and not mix.
    • External persons providing supplementary programmes can serve up to 4 schools. Persons conducting supplementary programmes can serve multiple classes but must do so one at a time to ensure no mixing of children from different classes.

 

  • Security will also explicitly ask each visitor and check for symptoms of illness:
  1. Have you been having a fever?
  2. Do you have a cough?
  3. Do you have a sore throat?
  4. Do you have a runny nose?
  5. Do you have shortness of breath?
  6. Do you have a loss of sense of smell?
  7. Are you unwell in any way (besides the above)?
  8. Are there adult household members who are unwell with fever and/or flu-like symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath?

(Ministry of Education Singapore, 20 May 2020)

 

  • Visitors will all be required to check-in and check-out using SafeEntry, complete a travel and health declaration as well as have their temperature checked. Visitors must maintain a safe distance from staff and children.

 

  • No school tours will be conducted.

Environmental Hygiene: Cleaning & Disinfection

As per the COVID-Safe measures, EtonHouse Thomson will continue to implement the following to reduce the risk of transmission and ensure high levels of environmental hygiene.

The cleaning procedures at our school will continue to adhere to the measures from Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health guidelines:  

  • Infection Prevention Guidelines for Schools (Primary) and Child Care Centres Third Edition, released by Ministry of Health, 2019
  • Safe Management Measure for COVID-Safe Foreign System Kindergartens (FSKs): COVID-Safe ABCs, released by Ministry of Education, 20th May 2020

Thomson - Cleaning Thomson - Cleaning Thomson - Cleaning

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Testing due to Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) Symptoms 

  1. Do all students and staff need to get tested for COVID-19?

Anyone who is unwell, especially if they display respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, cough or sore throat, should see a doctor.

Staff and students (13 years and above), if diagnosed by the doctor to have Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) and require COVID-19 testing, will be referred by the doctor to a polyclinic, designated GP clinic participating in the Swab-and-Send-Home (SASH) initiative or Regional Screening Centre set up by the Health Promotion Board to undergo a test. This also applies to personnel working in schools but who are not MOE-hires, such as SCC/KCare staff, coaches and instructors, canteen and bookshop operators. A list of GP clinics participating in the SASH initiative can be found at the following website: http://www.phpc.gov.sg.

For students aged 12 and below, they will be assessed by the doctor on whether a test is required, as younger children may require different clinical considerations from older children. They may be issued a 5-day MC in the first instance, and be required to stay home. If they are well at the end of the MC period, they can return to school. If they are still displaying respiratory symptoms at the end of their MC period, they should return to the same doctor for follow-up assessment, and the doctor may refer them to KKH or NUH for COVID-19 testing.

 

  1. Why is COVID-19 testing needed?

Testing complements the other safe management measures we have put in place to safeguard the wellbeing and safety of teachers and students. This is to allow us to identify COVID-19 cases earlier and to quickly contain any potential spread in the schools/education institutions and community.

 

  1. What will staff/students getting tested for COVID-19 need to bring along with them? Is payment for the swab test required?

MOE staff and students will need to bring along their student/staff pass that has their NRIC/FIN number. Non-MOE staff who work in schools or with school students will need to bring along a letter of identification from the school and a form of identification with their NRIC/FIN number. A mask should be worn at all times.

The cost of the test arising from a diagnosis of an Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) will be covered by the government. In this scenario, the relevant consultation, medication and investigation costs will be covered under the Flu Subsidy Scheme (for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, as well as Work Permit Holders).

 

  1. Why not test all staff like those in pre-schools?

The need for surveillance testing is assessed based on different risk factors, including the group’s vulnerability and risk of exposure to COVID-19, and the risk of spread within the particular setting. Within pre-schools/schools/education institutions, other factors are taken into account, including the level of close interaction between staff and students. As pre-school staff have much closer physical interactions with their students, as compared to staff of other schools, all pre-school staff were tested in a one-time sweep before the pre-schools resumed full services.

 

To reduce risk of transmission in schools/education institutions, staff diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) by a doctor will be prioritised for testing as part of the overall strategy to keep schools/education institutions safe.

 

I would like to keep my child at home and not send my child back to school. How will my child’s learning be supported?

Families who can not send or are concerned about sending children back to school during phase 1 of safe reopening will be required to complete a ‘Stay Home Request Form’. This request for exemption from class should be submitted to the front office before arrangements for class work to be completed at home can be made. This allows us to prepare teaching teams for this added responsibility to their teaching day.

Class work and experiences to be completed at home will be shared by your child’s class teachers. These arrangements will be made directly with your child’s class teacher upon resumption of the school term. This exemption will be supported to the very best of the teaching teams abilities given that they will be teaching a full class each day. 

Your child’s teachers will contact you individually when school resumes to make the necessary arrangements for the following week and a time for a daily check in call with your child. Kindly note that this call on MS Teams will be carried out by your child’s teacher from their class and scheduled around the class schedule and responsibilities to children attending class. We kindly ask that you respect the demands already placed on teachers in their daily work.

 

What is SafeEntry?

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has announced that alongside measures to reduce the risk of transmission in daily interactions and activities, Singapore needs to continue to strengthen our contact tracing regime through the use of technology. From 12 May 2020, the use of SafeEntry will be mandatory for places where individuals are likely to be in close proximity for prolonged periods or in enclosed spaces, or where there is higher traffic. 

Please refer to the press release issued on 9 May 2020 for more details: https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/implementing-safeentry-and-safemanagement-practices

SafeEntry

SafeEntry is a common system that will be used by all establishments to allow data to be made available to the Ministry of Health (MOH) quickly, so as to facilitate contact tracing. SafeEntry allows the data of employees and visitors to be sent to the authorities in an automated manner. Contact data collected by SafeEntry is only used by authorised personnel for contact tracing purposes, and stringent measures are in place to safeguard the data in accordance with the Government’s data security standards. 

Schools may already have existing platforms to log in the information of staff, children and visitors on their premises. However, schools are required to use SafeEntry on top of their existing systems because it is a common system that will allow data to be made available to the Ministry of Health quickly, so as to facilitate contact tracing. It is important that everyone plays their part and uses SafeEntry, so that we can collectively prevent new clusters from forming. 

 

What is TraceTogether?

TraceTogether is a mobile application developed to support existing nationwide efforts to combat COVID-19, by enabling community-driven contact tracing.

TraceTogether adopts a community-driven approach where participating devices exchange proximity information whenever an app detects another device with the TraceTogether app installed.

TraceTogether uses the Bluetooth Relative Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) readings between devices across time to approximate the proximity and duration of an encounter between two users. This proximity and duration information is stored on one’s phone for 21 days on a rolling basis — anything beyond that would be deleted. No location data is collected.

If a person unfortunately falls ill with COVID-19, the Ministry of Health (MOH) would work with them to map out their activity for past 14 days, for contact tracing. And if the person has the TraceTogether app installed, they can grant MOH to access their TraceTogether Bluetooth proximity data — making it quicker for MOH to contact people who had close contact with the infected individual, to provide timely guidance and care.

Visit their website for more details: https://www.tracetogether.gov.sg/

Tracetogether QR code

What are the COVID-Safe ABCs?

The Ministry of Education and Committee of Private Education has outlined safe management measures:

 

  • COVID-Safe Access: To ensure Safe Access, schools are to implement measures to ensure that individuals who may pose a risk of transmission are not allowed access into the school premises.

 

  • COVID-Safe Behaviours: Schools are to implement measures to ensure that staff, children and families adopt COVID-Safe Behaviour and norms to reduce the risk of transmission and ensure a safe environment within each class.

 

  • COVID-Safe Classrooms: To ensure COVID-Safe Classrooms, it is critical that children and staff stay within a fixed group and designated spaces to minimise any risk of cross-transmission across classes, in the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the school.

 

Sources

  1. Enhanced Precautionary Measures for Preschools Against COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), Circular released by ECDA 19th May 2020 further shared by CPE 20th May 2020
  2. Arrangements for School and Institutes of Higher Learning at End of Circuit Breaker released by Ministry of Education Singapore 19th May 2020
  3. New Requirements for Safe Management Measures at the Workplace After Circuit Breaker Period released by Ministry of Manpower, 9th May 2020
  4. End of Circuit Breaker Phased Approach to Resuming Activities Safely, released Ministry of Health Singapore, 19th May 2020 further shared by CPE 20th May 2020
  5. Safe Management Measure for COVID-Safe Foreign System Kindergartens (FSKs): COVID-Safe ABCs, released by Ministry of Education, 20th May 202
  6. Expanded Surveillance Testing for COVID-19, press release by Ministry of Education, 7th June 2020 further shared by CPE 11th June 2020
  7. Enhanced Precautionary Measures for Preschools Against COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), released by ECDA 16th July 2020
  8. Enhanced Precautionary Measures for Preschools Against COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019), released by ECDA 22nd August 2020 further shared by MOE & CPE

Home Based Learning (HBL)

This document outlines our home-based learning plan to support all stakeholders in understanding how classes will be supported during any period of home-based learning. This plan has been informed by the reflections that were added to the by all of the teaching staff at the school to collate the feedback and requests from families and their own professional reflections on how best to take home-based learning forward. 

It has also been informed through guidance from the IB and other sources suggested by the IB as follows: 

 

  1. Online learning, teaching and education continuity planning for schools (IBO, 2020 – available on MyIB)
  2. COVID-19: 10 Recommendations to plan distance learning solutions (UNESCO, 2020)

 

 

This document seeks to share information with all stakeholders to build an understanding of what home-based learning is like at EtonHouse Thomson and the reasoning behind the plan to support families and teachers in working together during any period of HBL. Periods of HBL, by their nature,  require greater collaboration between families and the school. The structure of the home-based learning that we have chosen is based on making every effort to be as inclusive as possible for all members of our community. From our experience and the shared experiences of schools throughout Singapore and the world, we realise that during periods of home-based learning families have very different feelings about what they feel constitutes a plan that would work for their individual family. Whilst we recognise that at times groups of families may agree on certain aspects of HBL there is no one size fits all approach that will work for all families. With this being the case the plan that has been outlined we believe to be comprehensive and will best support learning during any period of HBL. We will be unable to make changes in the short term to this plan as all aspects of it require organisation, scheduling, and coordination.  As with anything that we do as a school we are open to the respectful feedback from any members of our community. This is demonstrated in this plan, which has taken into account a whole range of suggestions and ideas which we feel are best for learners and are feasible and sustainable for all stakeholders. It is also important for all stakeholders to recognise that home-based learning in the early and primary years is never going to be an ideal situation or one that we would choose. We will not be making changes to this plan during a period of HBL. As with all aspects of our learning and teaching at the school, we will conduct regular reviews on HBL and make changes accordingly in light of further reflections. This can only take place over a longer time period as we need to give this plan time to see how it is working and the problems or issues that will perhaps arrive. Please be reassured that all decisions regarding HBL  have the learner and their learning at the very centre of them.

There are going to be aspects that families feel don’t work for them or are not effective in their individual situations. If this is the case please get in touch with the teachers to discuss your individual child/ren and they will support you in any way that they can. If you would like to discuss the overall plan please direct these questions to the assistant principal/PYP coordinator Mike Carrigan by email at mike.carrigan@etonhouse.edu.sg

We cannot recreate the classroom in an online environment

“Effective online teaching is not the same as face-to-face (F2F). It is not a matter of whether it is equal. It requires different activities, some which are better done online.”

(IBO, 2020)

Our home-based learning plan respects that it is not possible to recreate the classroom online. A teacher cannot provide sufficient  supervision to learners without being physically present. Therefore classroom behaviour management strategies will not be applicable in an online environment. Home-based learning cannot aim to recreate the classroom and shouldn’t try to as this will lead to ineffective learning and teaching. To transfer to home-based learning we must think about instruction differently.

 

Equally it is important to make clear that whilst it is inevitable that families will need to play a role in supporting their children through HBL we aim for this to be as minimal as possible. We do not see family members as teachers as we recognise that this is not possible and that families do not have the training to do this. If families are finding this to be the case they are asked to respectfully share their point of view with the teaching teams.  

Inclusive Education

“Ensure inclusion of the distance learning programmes – Implement measures to ensure that students including those with disabilities or from low-income backgrounds have access to distance learning programmes”

(UNESCO, 2020)

As UNESCO share we must endeavour to ensure that any period of home-based learning does not unfairly disadvantage families that have limited access to devices. This can be particularly apparent during times when working family members need to be at home as they may also need to access the family’s devices. For families with siblings, this can also become difficult as they may need to share a single device and are not able to have live conferencing happening simultaneously. We have worked to produce a plan that supports the inclusion of all of our learners as much as possible. 

Video Conferencing & Screen Time

As a result of home-based learning screen time and video conferencing need to be considered carefully in a number of dimensions as they are always going to play an integral role in any home-based learning arrangements. 

 

During a situation such as the Circuit Breaker approach taken in Singapore by the government during April and May 2020, learners could be asked to maintain a safe distance from peers and not be able to have face-to-face interactions with members outside their family. With this being the case video conferences provide an ideal opportunity to both keep class communities connected and engage in discussions and conversations that are otherwise not possible. 

 

We believe that the best use of video conferences is to provide opportunities for learners and teachers to explore larger discussions related to their inquiries or wellbeing that they would be having in the classroom. We also feel that there should be opportunities for learners to talk with each other and have moderated conversations. These would be less guided by teachers and perhaps in response to a conversation starter prompt or question/s. In other situations, these conferences could also provide a platform for learners to work or plan collaboratively on a project over a period of time. Learners may present to each other to develop presentation skills and to gain feedback on their work from peers. In some cases, teachers may ask for learners to prepare certain basic materials so that they can engage with an experience during the sessions (eg, a N2 group might be asked to show 5 fingers or chopsticks; a K1 group may be asked to have their jotter books and pencils with them so they can draw patterns; a Y2 group may ask learners to solve a mathematics problem using a visual method and show it to the camera; a year 5 group might do a word sort together using words that have been shared before the session and the learners have cut out into strips.) 

 

Having a teacher explain a learning experience or demonstrate a mathematical method or grammar rule is useful but this can also be achieved through a video that can be watched before the learner begins an experience. If learners have difficulties with learning experiences they can check in with teachers through 1-to-1 conferences or during a question session during a video conference. 

 

We fundamentally know that smaller groups will be more conducive to these experiences. Waiting for your turn in a large group can take a long time and stop you from actively listening. Having a discussion with less participants (somewhere between 4-8) has a very different dynamic and provides more opportunities for contributions, discussions and the back and forth that is so important in classroom discussions. To enable this to happen during home-based learning teachers will hold multiple small group discussions with different groups of learners rather than working with the whole group.   

 

The IB have recognised that screen time will inevitably play a part in home-based learning but have suggested limits based on guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics as follows:

Ages 2–5: 1 hour, broken into sessions of a maximum of 30 minutes.

Age 6 and above: No specific screen time limits, but screen time should not affect physical activity and face-to-face interactions at home and school. Consistent limits on screen time are also very important.”

(IBO, 2020)

They have also stated that videoconferencing does not contribute to screen time due to the nature of interactions during videoconferencing:

“Videoconferencing and social interactions using video do not count towards screen time.” 

(IBO, 2020) 

With this in mind, we have taken into a number of factors to consider the lengths of time for our video conferencing. This includes research into meeting times in regular early childhood classrooms such as Bustamante (2018) which suggests 15-20 minutes for kindergarten (5-6 year old) classes as there is a sharp decrease in engagement and attention during meetings longer than this. UNESCO states:

“Keep a coherent timing according to the level of the students’ self-regulation and metacognitive abilities especially for livestreaming classes. Preferably, the unit for primary school students should not be more than 20 minutes, and no longer than 40 minutes for secondary school students.”

(UNESCO, 2020)

With this guidance in mind our teacher team has combined its collective knowledge and experience of what works. We fundamentally know that learners will not pay attention for longer periods of time than they usually do in classrooms during video conferencing whereby the nature of experiences are likely to require more control and direction than in the regular class to ensure that these conferences do not simply become lots of people talking over one another. With all of this in mind we have decided on the following time increments during home-based learning. 

 

PN, N1 and N2 year levels to have video conferencing for a maximum of 15 minutes at a time with at least 30 minutes between conferences. There will be an English led and Mandarin led meeting scheduled for small groups each day. There will be a 10-15 minute story and song time at the end of the day which all learners are welcome to join. By nature of this being a whole group experience it will be less interactive. They will also have video conferencing sessions with the PE and Music specialists on a weekly basis. 

  • N2 classes will also be receiving ICT and Visual arts video conferencing on a weekly basis. 

 

K1, Y1 and Y2 year levels to have video conferencing for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time with at least 30 minutes in between conferences. There will be an English led and Mandarin led meeting scheduled for small groups each day. They are offered PE, Music, Visual Arts and ICT specialist sessions. 

  • On a weekly basis learners in K1 will have a 10 minute 1-to-1 virtual reading session with one of their teachers. 
  • In Y1 and Y2 learners will schedule for a weekly small group guided reading session lasting 20-30 minutes depending on the year level and engagement of the group.  

 

Y3, Y4, Y5 and Y6 year levels to have video conferencing between 20-30 minutes at a time with ideally around 30 minutes between conferences. We are aware that this is slightly greater than UNESCOs guidance and teachers will be closely monitoring the engagement of the group to decide when a session should be brought to an end. There will be an English led and Mandarin led meeting scheduled for small groups each day. They are offered PE, Music, Visual Arts and ICT specialist sessions. They will also have a scheduled weekly small group guided reading session lasting 20-30 minutes depending on the year level and teacher’s observations of how the group is doing.  

 

Specialist teachers will be providing live video conferencing to learners on a weekly basis as a whole group. Due to the number of classes they work with and the nature of their classes it is not possible to schedule them to work with smaller groups. The lengths of these sessions will be inline with the lengths of time indicated above for different year levels. 

For music and PE these will be sessions where the teachers will be encouraging the learners to join in or follow along with what they are doing. These live sessions will be for classes from PN-Y6.

For ICT and visual arts the teachers will be introducing a learning experience and will stay online for the length of the session whilst the learners are working. In some cases this may mean the learners may continue to work on the learning experience after the teacher has ended the session.  These sessions would be held for the N2-Y6 year levels. 

For library there will be videos that give the learners something to think about or a challenge for them to engage with for PN-Y6 year levels. 

For learners receiving literacy support there will be video conferencing sessions scheduled for these groups. Sessions will be in line with guidance above with regards to lengths of meetings.  

 

If any of the specialist teachers require resources or have suggested resources for their classes they will share this information with families with the daily learning experiences the day before their classes. 

 

It is important to note that we have created many different opportunities for learning with our HBL plan but recognise that for one learner this could at times be 4 or more video conferences during a day. For families that have siblings at the school this could become 8 or for some families over 10 video conferences happening during a day. As shared further below, although we believe that these video conferences are very valuable for learners there might be occasions where learners cannot make it to all of them or even any of them on some days. As a school we are supportive of all families and understand if this is the case. If at any time families would like to stop any of the sessions for any reason you are more than welcome to do so, just let your child’s teachers know. On MS Teams you can also change your availability to “Do Not Disturb” which will stop any calls or invites to meetings coming through to you. 

One-to-one Support

If teachers feel that there is an area or concept being explored during the HBL that a learner is finding challenging additional time will be organised where teachers will give one-to-one support. If  this is the case it is no cause for concern. All learners need support in their work at different times. In the classroom setting teachers assess their learners continuously to give them an understanding of when a little extra support or clarification might be needed. The same will be applied during home-based learning. 

When these support sessions are being planned communication between families and teachers are essential to ensure clarity regarding the area and reasoning for supporting the learner. As they would in the class teachers will professionally assess the timeframe required to support the learner in grasping the material and successfully foster independence in that area of learning. Once the teacher assesses that the learner has grasped the concept or understands the piece of work the teacher will end the session. These sessions can last up to 20 minutes with a maximum of two in a week. This timing ensures that these sessions are manageable and sustainable for all involved and learners receive them when it is really needed. 

 

These are opportunities for collaboration between families, learners and teachers and all requests and communications need to be conducted on a strictly respectful basis. Only by working together through periods of HBL in an open-minded and caring manner can we best support each learner’s needs.

MS Teams and Technology

Throughout HBL we will be using Microsoft Teams as our primary communication platform. Each learner will have their own email address and password for their individual MS Teams account. In order to safeguard all stakeholders all work on MS Teams need to be in spaces that are moderated.

The following list outlines some of the uses that Microsoft Teams will be used for:

  • Video conferencing platform
  • Portal where daily learning experiences and work will be uploaded through the assignments tab. Learners can also upload their own work onto the assignment space to share with teachers. Teachers can then use this space to provide feedback.  
  • Additional files, resources and videos can be uploaded on here. 
  • Over time learners of appropriate age groups may be introduced to tools that support presentation/collaboration and more through the platform. 
  • Direct messaging between teachers and learners.

 

Assigning and Uploading work on Teams

To streamline this communication all classes and any specialist work will be uploaded through the assignments tab.  Learning experiences for the following day will be uploaded through the assignments tab by 12pm. Learning experiences for Monday will be put up on Friday. If learners have completed any of the work for Monday over the weekend, teachers will not provide additional work. 

At times teachers may suggest online resources for families to access. Teachers will always aim to ensure these resources are accessible on a computer, tablet or mobile device. Teaching teams will work to ensure that this is the case but without being able to test it out on all devices there is always a chance that something won’t work. This is of course regrettable but unfortunately at times unavoidable with the multitude of devices on the market today. If families find that they are unable to access a resource we ask them to reach out to classroom teachers. This collaboration will support us in ensuring that we suggest the best tools moving forward.

 

Expectations on Attire for Video Conferencing

When video conferencing it is important that learners are dressed in appropriate attire. They should not be in pyjamas. 

 

Respecting Families’ Privacy and Safeguarding  Learners

We would encourage you to use the blur background setting on any video calls as this adds a layer of privacy as other people on the call will not be able to see your background although do bear in mind that any family members that step into the background will be visible even in the blurred mode. If your device does not support the blur background feature we would strongly encourage you to aim to have a blank or neutral background. 

To support the safeguarding of all of the members of our community we cannot allow unmoderated spaces on the MS Teams platform. This means that video calls between learners and private teams are not to be created or initiated through MS Teams. Teachers will work with the learners to ensure that they understand this is not something they can use this platform for. We ask families to work with us to ensure that any unmoderated chats or video calls are reported to teaching teams. In these situations, we will work with the learners and families to stop the calls or shut down these teams. In the event that the behaviour continues, we will need to take the unfortunate action to suspend an account and reset it in order for our administrators to remove any unmoderated spaces that have been created. We would strongly prefer not to have to do this and seek families’ cooperation in working with us to ensure that this does not become necessary. 

 

Technical Support

We understand that some families using tablet or mobile devices may at times be prompted to download apps. All of the online resources we suggest will be accessible without download through a web browser on a computer. We are unable to vouch for apps that needed to be downloaded on mobile devices and would advise you to explore the privacy settings on your individual device.  

As there are such a wide variety of devices available for purchase running different operating systems and with different requirements it is likely that at some point during any period of HBL there may be technical difficulties. With this being the case we ask that families contact teaching teams if they are having issues. If the teaching team cannot support they will contact our IT team who will then look into the issue. Some issues will need to be referred to Microsoft if there is a bug or error in the programme. In situations such as this, the waiting to get the issue resolved can increase. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work to support families and solve any problems that are being experienced.