Singapore

Tighter school safety rules to reduce mixing

These include exam-style seating and reduced group size for all activities

From Saturday, students will have to follow exam-style seating arrangements in classrooms and all activities conducted in public spaces such as learning journeys will be suspended.

Group sizes in all activities will also be reduced from eight to five people, and the overall capacity for activities such as lectures cannot exceed 50.

The remaining National School Games competitions will also be suspended, to minimise the intermingling of students across schools and institutions.

These are some of the latest measures announced by the Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday, as Singapore takes stricter measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

These measures will take effect until May 30.

They apply to MOE kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, special education schools, junior colleges, Millennia Institute and institutes of higher learning.

"The latest measures aim to reduce intermingling of students across schools/institutions and minimise external activities, while ensuring that teaching and learning continue," said the ministry.

These measures will apply on top of existing safe management measures in schools and education institutions.

School-based activities such as co-curricular activities (CCA) and after-school care arrangements will continue.

Mid-year assessments in school and the mid-year GCE O- and A-level mother tongue language assessments will also proceed as planned.

However, other external activities such as external CCAs will be suspended from Saturday until May 30.

Selections for the 2021 Direct School Admission exercises, of which applications will open today, will be conducted electronically.

Selections for the upcoming polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education early admissions exercise will also be conducted largely electronically, such as through online interviews or portfolio submissions over e-mail, said MOE.

At universities, polytechnics and other institutes of higher learning, in-person class and lecture sizes must not exceed 50 people.

Larger classes and lectures must be conducted online.

Internships and work attachments will continue, with students adhering to the prevailing safe management measures at the organisations to which they are attached.

Polytechnic graduation ceremonies from Saturday will be converted to virtual ceremonies.

MOE said private schools as well as private tuition and enrichment classes should follow the tightened measures.

Students, visitors and staff will have to digitally check in to schools and institutions using their TraceTogether token or app from May 17, and keep the token or app with them while on the premises.

MOE will continue to work with schools and institutions to ensure the implementation of all necessary safe management measures. It urged students and staff to continue to adhere to screening measures and practise good personal hygiene.

If they are feeling unwell, students and staff should not go to school or campuses, and should see a doctor immediately.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.

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