Singapore

Classes at infected prof’s department to move online

All classes at the School of Design and Environment of the National University of Singapore (NUS) will be conducted online from today after one of its professors became ill with the coronavirus.

NUS president Tan Eng Chye said last night that as an additional precaution, in-person classes, tests, meetings or interactions between the school's students and staff, as well as small group studio sessions, will be suspended until next Friday.

NUS' recess week then kicks in from Feb 22 to March 1.

The school has more than 1,900 undergraduates who study architecture, industrial design, real estate or project and facilities management. It has about 600 graduate students.

The Singaporean professor had attended the Grace Assembly of God church, which has emerged as the fifth cluster of the Covid-19 outbreak here.

He developed symptoms on Monday night and did not return to campus.

An NUS spokesman said the professor's last contact with students had been on Feb 5.

"Staff who were in close contact with the professor were swiftly put on leave of absence, and we are providing them with assistance and support," he said, adding that NUS has also stepped up its cleaning efforts and precautionary measures.

Prof Tan said in a circular that the areas the professor had used or visited in the school on Monday have been thoroughly disinfected, including "all high-traffic areas such as hand railings, lifts, and lift lobbies around the affected premises".

NUS implemented e-learning for all classes with more than 50 students across other faculties on Monday.

All events and activities with more than 50 participants have been cancelled or deferred.

In response to an online petition calling for official permission to allow foreign students to leave Singapore, NUS' dean of students Leong Ching noted that any international student who wants to return home can apply for leave of absence and the balance of his or her tuition fees will be refunded.

coronavirus