SINGAPORE: The police are looking into an apparent leak of a joint press release issued by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on COVID-19 school closures.
The press release, dated Apr 3, contained details of full home-based learning that will be implemented at schools and institutes of higher learning, as well as the closure of pre-schools and student care centres.
A version of the press release was circulating on WhatsApp and other social media platforms, hours before Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s address to the nation at 4pm on Friday announcing the measures.
The official press release was emailed to the media by the ministries only after the Prime Minister’s address.
When CNA contacted authorities about the leak, MOE and MSF said on Saturday (Apr 4): “We are aware of the incident. Police investigations are ongoing.”
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The image of the press release that was circulating, in what appeared to be an earlier version of the document, showed that all schools would move to full home-based learning for three weeks, from Apr 13 to Apr 30. It also said that all pre-schools, MOE kindergartens and student care centres would close.
The official press release stated that schools will move to home-based learning from Apr 8 to May 4. It also said that pre-schools and student care centres will provide limited services for children of parents who have to work and cannot find caregivers.
At the multi-ministry task force press conference on Friday, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said that schools will remain open for parents who are unable to stay home to look after their children. These include parents in essential services, such as healthcare workers, as well as those from vulnerable families.
“We do expect a fair number of children from more vulnerable families having to come to school, so I think (we can) take this opportunity, mobilise resources we have, let’s see what we can do to especially help this group of children,” he added.