FAQs for COVID-19 Infection in Singapore

Updated on 8 Oct 2020, 16:30

Mitigating Measures For LEAPS 2.0 for 2020
What adjustments have been made to ensure that students are not unduly penalised in terms of their co-curricular records and LEAPS 2.0 attainment?

MOE has implemented a set of measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the co-curricular records of primary school and pre-university students, as well as the LEAPS 2.0 attainment for secondary school students.

For the LEAPS 2.0 framework, which recognises the holistic development of secondary students, adjustments have been made to the four domains – Achievement, Leadership, Participation and Service – so that students will continue to be recognised for their involvement in co-curricular activities (CCA).

Under the Achievement domain, MOE has implemented a special provision to recognise all students for Representation and Accomplishment as long as they have been selected to represent their school for any competition, performance or event (e.g. National School Games, Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation etc.) this year, regardless of the completion status and outcome of their involvement in these activities.

Under the Leadership domain, schools will continue to recognise school, class and CCA-based leadership appointments, taking into account how the various leadership responsibilities might have been rescoped to continue to allow meaningful learning to take place. For example, for Uniformed Groups, badgework and promotion requirements will be adjusted to allow students to pursue their rank promotions and badges through online learning modules.

Under the Participation domain, students' CCA attendance will be pro-rated based on the total number of CCA sessions that have been conducted by the school. Students who were absent with valid reasons due to disruptions caused by COVID-19 will not be penalised.

Under the Service domain, schools will continue to recognise students for their involvement in Values-in-Action projects, including additional opportunities that had arisen due to COVID-19, such as VIA@home.

For Values in Action (VIA) projects that have been cancelled in 2020, will students still be recognised if they have already signed up for these activities?

Students will be recognised for their time spent on planning, discussing, refining as well as reflecting on their VIA project, even if the VIA activity was suspended eventually.

Are the adjustments to LEAPS 2.0 only in effect this year?

Yes, the adjustments are currently applicable only for 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. MOE is monitoring the situation closely and will make adjustments when necessary.

Expanded Surveillance Testing for COVID-19
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.

Students aged 13 to 16 should be accompanied by a parent/guardian for the test. This facilitates consent-taking and communication to both the student and parent/guardian on the precautions to take note of while awaiting the test results at home.

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.

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.

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.

Students aged 13 to 16 should be accompanied by a parent/guardian for the test. This facilitates consent-taking and communication to both the student and parent/guardian on the precautions to take note of while awaiting the test results at home.

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).

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.

Back to School Arrangement
Will MOE centre-based lessons resume in Phase Two?

All MOE centre-based lessons# will resume for non-graduating cohorts from 29 June 2020, with the same safe management measures that are put in place in schools.

#: MOE Centres Include MOE Language Centres, Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre, Tamil Language Centres, Higher Chinese Language Centres, Higher Malay Language Centres, Chinese Language 'B' Syllabus Centres, Malay (Special Programme) Zonal Centres, Chinese (Special Programme) Zonal Centres, O-Level Music Centres, Music Elective Programme (Mep) Centres, Art Elective Programme (Aep) Centre

Why do PE lessons still take place when NAPFA is cancelled? How will these lessons be conducted?

Regular physical activity is important for our students' continued holistic development and physical well-being. PE lessons provide a platform to encourage our students to participate in and enjoy physical activities, and are not conducted solely for the purpose of preparing students for NAPFA.

For class-based Physical Education (PE) lessons, we will allow group activities and small-sided games that involve minimal physical contact, such as badminton, table-tennis, volleyball, sepak takraw, with a limit of five students per group and safe management measures in place.

Can my child use a face shield instead of a face mask in school?

COVID-19 is spread predominantly through droplets. The design of face shields typically leaves a gap between the face shield and the face which droplets can pass through, whereas masks that are worn closely and completely over the nose and mouth do not have such gaps. Hence, MOH had announced that from 2 June, masks will now be required as the default when we are outside our home.

However, MOH also recognises that in some situations, the wearing of face masks may not be practical, and exemption has been given for certain groups of students/children as follows:

  • Children twelve years and below, who may have difficulty wearing and keeping face masks on for a prolonged period of time;
  • Older students who have certified health conditions that may result in breathing or other medical difficulties when a mask is worn for a prolonged period of time. This includes some students with special needs that make it challenging for them to wear face masks.

For these children, face shields could be an option and is not mandatory.

Schools will also allow primary school students and MK children to use face shields for short periods of time if the children have difficulties wearing face masks for long periods.

What measures will school-based Student Care Centres (SCC) and Kindergarten Care (KCare) put in place to reduce intermingling of students?

Schools will work with the SCC operators to put in place safe management measures to reduce the inter-mingling of students from different levels. Students will be grouped based on their class and level and allocated designated rooms, preferably on different levels, to minimise contact. Where interactions need to be facilitated, students will be in small groups and safe distancing between them will be maintained. The same SCC staff will also be deployed to look after each group of students.

The same principle to avoid inter-mingling will apply to KCare. Where possible, we will:

  • Continue to keep the children and staff within their own floors/classes throughout the day;
  • Ensure that children within each class are in smaller numbers with fixed groups of 4-5, similar to the grouping in the MK classes;
  • Ensure that children and staff have their snacks and meals in their respective KCare homerooms, with staggered timings;
  • Have a fixed deployment of KCare staff to each class.
Can students attend school-based Student Care Centres (SCC) or Special SCC (SSCC) during the Home-Based Learning week?

Yes, students who are currently enrolled in the school-based SCC can come back for care services in the afternoon.

Families with no alternative care arrangements in the morning may approach their school for assistance.

Precautionary Measures in Schools
Does my child need to wear a mask/face shield when attending an MOE Kindergarten (MK)?

To protect young children and to reduce the risk of transmission, MOH continues to strongly encourage young children to wear a mask or face shield, especially if they are in a group setting or when interacting with others.

In line with these MOH guidelines, all preschool children should continue to wear masks/face shields in the MOE Kindergartens and KCare. MKs will continue to exercise some flexibility for children who have difficulties wearing a mask/face shield, for example, children with special needs and younger children.

Parents should continue to provide masks/face shields for their children to wear in the MKs and KCare.

Will all CCAs and school activities be resumed? [UPDATED]

Most CCAs and school activities are allowed to resume while activities that involve the following will remain suspended:

  • Singing;
  • Activities with high level of body contact such as Taekwondo sparring, Rugby scrum and tackle;
  • Overnight camps.

Schools will continue to safeguard our students' well-being during CCAs and school activities, by implementing the necessary safe management measures (SMMs). This includes ensuring minimal inter-mingling between students and members of the public for activities held at external venues, such as Learning Journeys.

For the detailed list of activities that can resume after year-end examinations and the SMMs put in place, please click on this link.

Is it compulsory for my child to attend the CCAs?

Schools have the option to resume face-to-face CCAs where appropriate, and with SMM guidelines in place. If the CCA is able to resume, students will be expected to attend the CCA sessions. Consistent with usual school practice, students who are unable to attend CCA due to valid reasons can be excused.

What are the safe management measures put in place in schools, now that students from all levels are returning to school from 29 June?

Safe management measures in schools will continue to include the following:

Screening
  • Daily temperature-taking and visual screening for all students and staff.
  • Students and staff who are unwell, or who have household members on Home Quarantine Order/Stay Home Notice or have adult household members with flu-like symptoms such as fever and cough, are required to stay away from school.

Hygiene
  • Frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces and disinfection of the premises to be done daily.
  • Students will continue to practise frequent hand-washing throughout the school day and wipe down of tables and shared equipment after use.

Reduced Intermingling (Cohorting)
  • Intermingling across classes and levels will be reduced.

Safe Distancing
  • Fixed exam-style seating in classrooms with small group discussions allowed.
  • Students are to continue sitting in spaced seating arrangements in canteens, where possible. Otherwise, fixed groups of up to five from the same class will be allowed.
  • Staggered arrival, dismissal and recess timings to reduce congestion.
  • Students and staff are required to wear masks. In situations where wearing of masks may not be practical (e.g. students with health conditions), they may wear face shields instead.
How can MOE confirm that there will not be a cluster in schools with confirmed case(s)?

MOE will closely monitor the students and staff who were in contact with the confirmed case(s). As a precautionary measure, they will be issued a 14-day Leave of Absence, to minimise the risks of further transmission in schools. The affected schools will also be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

These measures have proven to be effective in limiting the transmission of virus in our schools. Students and staff who are unwell know that they should not be going to school. Our teachers also carefully monitor themselves and their students, and any staff or student showing symptoms will be immediately isolated and sent to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Our schools and teachers will continue to implement the necessary safe management and precautionary measures, to reduce risks as much as possible.

What action will MOE take if there are any confirmed clusters in school?

If there is a new confirmed case in the school, face-to-face lessons will be suspended for 3 days at the first instance while we work with MOH to establish whether there is a link between the new and the previous confirmed case.

If there is a link between the cases, MOE will immediately implement Full Home-based Learning (HBL) for all students in that school, while we conduct an additional round of thorough cleaning and disinfection of school premises.

Students will continue on Full HBL for about two weeks, or one cycle of transmission, and any staff or students who show any symptoms will be required to go to their nearest doctor for treatment and, if necessary, swab tests.

These measures will help to break the chain of transmission, while supporting our students to ensure they can continue their learning. When the school's situation has stabilised, students and staff can return to the school to continue face-to-face lessons (arrangement will depend on the situation).

Are masks compulsory for students engaged in physical activities during PE and while eating and drinking during recess?

Students and PE teachers will not be required to wear masks when participating in strenuous physical activities during PE. They will have to put on their masks at other times, such as when moving from their classrooms to the PE lesson.

Primary school students are encouraged to use their face shields while eating and drinking during recess.

For secondary school and older students, masks need not be worn while eating and drinking but they should be worn at all other times.

There will be a small number of students with SEN who are neither able to wear a mask nor a face shield. Will exceptions be made for such students whether in SPED or Mainstream Schools?

Most students with SEN can and therefore should wear a mask or face shield. Some may have sensory challenges which cause distress when wearing a mask or face shield. Hence we will exercise flexibility in enforcement. Parents should obtain a letter from a qualified medical/allied health professional if their child with SEN is unable to wear either a mask or face shield.

For specific groups of students with SEN, such as those with hearing loss and who lip-read, there will be some allowance for them, as well as their teachers and peers, to adopt the most appropriate safe management measures while allowing teaching and learning to continue. For example, during lessons and communication, these students, their teachers and their peers may need to wear face shields to facilitate lip-reading.

Why not reduce class sizes for better safe distancing? How about having morning and afternoon sessions?

We had considered reducing class sizes and having morning and afternoon sessions to allow for better safe distancing. However, this is disruptive. Students will have different teachers and less time with the subject teachers since we would have to reduce periods to fit two sessions.

In addition, these measures may not be critical to manage risks in the school context at this juncture, as we have many other safe management measures in place. These include having students stick strictly to their classes, minimising contact between students in class, and emphasising good hygiene and proper mask-wearing in common areas. We will also maintain safe distancing through queue markers and alternate seating in canteens, plus stagger arrival and dismissal times to ease congestion.

Why are we not disinfecting shoes and clothing of students?

MOH has shared that there is currently no evidence that spraying disinfectant on a fully clothed individual would 'disinfect' the individual. In addition, as the virus is carried within the airways of the infected person, spraying disinfectant onto the skin cannot eradicate it. The disinfectant may also cause skin irritation or other complications such as eczema.

How does MOE ensure safe management in school buses?

School bus operators will be encouraged to implement fixed alternate seating as far as possible. If not possible, fixed seating arrangements will still be put in place. Just like on public transport, students will wear masks, remain in their seats and refrain from talking. Operators will continue to maintain a high standard of cleanliness of the buses.

Schools will also continue to work with their school bus operators to ensure they check with students if they feel unwell, or have flu-like symptoms, and if any of the adults in their household has such symptoms. Students who report so should not board the bus but stay at home.

Will there be testing of SPED school personnel?

Students in our SPED schools, just like their peers in mainstream schools, generally do not need physical assistance. But there are some SPED students who are physically frail and would need help from the staff. For example, students with multiple disabilities may need staff to help move them from a wheelchair to another piece of equipment. We will be looking into testing staff who work closely with the more vulnerable students.

Is the SafeEntry system for everyone who enters the school (students, school staff, vendors and visitors)?

SafeEntry will be implemented for all who enter the school.

I am still concerned about the COVID-19 situation. Can I choose for my child to remain on HBL after school reopens?

We would like to reassure parents that schools would be making every effort to implement the various safe management measures to ensure the safety of all students and staff. As HBL can never be as effective as face-to-face lessons, keeping your child at home for HBL would mean that your child has not had face-to-face lessons for more than 8 weeks, given the Full HBL period and the May school holidays.

Allowing your child to return to school would ensure your child's teachers are able to work with your child effectively.

What if there are infection cases in our schools, despite all these measures? Will we close schools when that happens?

We understand the concerns about the safety and well-being of our students and teachers. In case of infection cases in schools, we have a stringent process in place to safeguard our student's well-being while ensuring that learning continues. When we are notified of a confirmed case, schools will quickly carry out the following, on top of the existing precautionary measures:

  • Those who have been in close contact will either be quarantined or issued 14 days of Leave of Absence (LOA) from the school;
  • Depending on the situation of the case, the affected school will close for a day to carry out deep cleaning and disinfection of the school premises to ensure that the school continues to remain a safe environment for learning;
  • There will be close monitoring of the situation to assess the risk of potential localised cluster in the school.

These measures have proven to be effective in limiting the transmission of the virus in our schools. Hence, it would not be necessary to institute national school closures when there is a confirmed case in schools. However, given the fluid nature of COVID-19, MOE will continue to monitor the situation very closely, and will take further measures if necessary.

Do I need to inform my child's school if my workplace has a confirmed case?

There is no need to inform the school if your workplace has a confirmed case unless it is you or someone in your immediate household who is a confirmed case. In addition, if you or a member of your household have been issued a quarantine order (QO) and your child is in MK/Primary School, you should also keep the school informed. Please continue to adopt good personal hygiene practices, and seek medical assistance immediately if you or your child are unwell.

When will the suspension on public use of indoor school facilities be lifted?

MOE will continue to review the public sharing arrangements for these facilities as the COVID-19 situation evolves.

Do MOE's precautionary measures apply to school vendors?

The precautionary measures schools have implemented to safeguard the well-being of students and staff also apply to school vendors. Temperature taking is conducted daily for vendors, including canteen vendors, cleaners, security guards, KCare and Student Care Centre staff. Individuals who have a temperature of 38oC or higher, or who exhibit flu-like symptoms, will be asked to seek medical assistance immediately. Vendors who operate outside schools, such as school bus vendors and coaches, have also been advised to adopt good personal hygiene practices and seek immediate medical attention should they feel unwell. Vendors are required to inform the school should they or any of their staff go on medical leave/QO/LOA/SHN.

Leave of Absence (LOA), Stay Home Notice (SHN) and Approved Absence (AA)
What is Approved Absence (AA) and why has my child been placed on it?

AA is a further precautionary measure to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our students and staff. Students and staff with adult household members who are feeling unwell with flu-like symptoms should inform their schools as soon as possible. They will be placed on AA and be required to stay at home for the duration of the household member's medical leave. We strongly encourage individuals with flu-like symptoms to seek medical attention immediately.

How are schools supporting students on Home Quarantine Order (HQO)/Stay-Home Notice (SHN) /Leave of Absence (LOA)/Approved Absence (AA) with their studies?

Schools will plan and implement a HBL programme that best suits the lessons and the students.

For example, schools may inform their students about specific pieces of homework or readings from their textbooks. Schools may also ask students to go through online materials in the Singapore Student Learning Space or the Learning Management Systems. Teachers will also be able to monitor the students' learning progress through these systems and submission of assignments.

What if students or staff do not inform the school about adult household members who are unwell or are on Home Quarantine Order (HQO)/Stay-Home Notice (SHN)/Leave of Absence (LOA)?

We urge them to spare a thought for others and do so to be socially responsible.

All of us play a part in ensuring the safety and well-being of ourselves, our loved ones and our society. We should do the responsible thing and see a doctor if unwell.

Ultimately, we can only overcome this virus with the co-operation and public spiritedness of everyone in Singapore.

Under what circumstances will my child be placed on Leave of Absence (LOA) and Approved Absence (AA)?

Pre-school, primary, secondary and JC/CI students will be placed on LOA:

  • when they are in close contact with confirmed cases but are not placed on Home Quarantine Order (HQO); or
  • if members in their households are serving the HQO at their place of residence.

With effect from 31 July 2020, LOAs would no longer be issued to students just because members of their household are serving SHN at their place of residence. As MOH has explained, individuals returning from select countries (link) would already be required to serve their SHN at dedicated facilities, instead of, for example, their own homes.

Students can be placed on AA when they are staying in the same household as adults (18 years and above) with flu-like symptoms, for the duration of the unwell individual's medical leave or until the adult is informed of a negative COVID-19 swab result.

What is Stay Home Notice (SHN)? How does the SHN differ from a Leave of Absence (LOA) and Quarantine Order (QO)?

The SHN is a precautionary measure for Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore with travel history within the last 14 days to all countries.

All travellers (Singapore residents, long-term pass holders, foreign employees issued with a work pass and short-term visitors) entering Singapore at any of our checkpoints could be subject to a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoint, even if asymptomatic. With effect from 1 September 2020 12:00 am, depending on which country travellers entering Singapore have spent their last consecutive 14 days prior to entering Singapore (link), they could be subject to one of the following:

  • 14-day SHN to be served in dedicated SHN facilities;
  • 7-day SHN to be served in their place of residence or;
  • Non-requirement to serve SHN.

At the end of the SHN period, they will have to test negative for COVID-19 before resuming their normal activities.

All holders of Work Pass (and their dependants), Long-Term Visit Pass, Student's Pass, as well as those who have been granted In-Principle Approval for Work Pass and Long-Term Pass must obtain approval from MOM/ICA before they commence their journey to Singapore.

Persons issued with a SHN/QO are on stricter regimes than those on LOA, and will be required to remain in their place of residence or quarantine facility at all times during the SHN/QO period. SHN and QO are legal orders. Individuals may be prosecuted under the Infectious Diseases Act and face serious penalties for non-compliance.

In comparison, those on LOAs are allowed to leave their homes briefly to purchase daily necessities or attend to important personal matters. However, they should not be attending school. During the LOA, students and staff are expected to:

  • Remain contactable at all times
  • Remain in the place of residence as much as possible
  • Monitor their health and their temperature
  • (For Students) Follow their HBL plan closely to continue with their learning

Click on the link for a quick explainer on the difference between LOA, SHN and QO: https://www.facebook.com/6788957003/posts/10159347488002004/?d=n

What will happen if a school student /staff does not comply with the Stay-Home Notice (SHN)?

It is important that all persons issued with SHN comply strictly with its requirements, in order to limit the risk from potential imported cases and to safeguard our community.

Students found to have breached their SHN will be subject to disciplinary actions from their schools and institutions.

In addition to school sanctions, they may also be prosecuted under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act. Permanent Residents (PRs), Dependent Pass (DP) or Student Pass (STP) holders may also have Re-Entry Permits, DP or STP revoked or shortened.

If a student/staff was in close contact with someone who is on Leave of Absence (LOA), would he or she need to be on LOA as well?

There is no need for the student/staff to be placed on LOA if they are in contact with people on LOA. In all circumstances, please continue to adopt good personal hygiene practices and seek medical assistance immediately if you or your child are unwell.

If my child is on LOA, as a parent, will I be able to go to work?

There is no need for you to be on LOA if you are in contact with people on LOA. LOA is a precautionary measure which is issued to people who are healthy. You can continue going to work, if you are working to provide essential services or in selected economic sectors which are critical for our local and global supply chains. Otherwise, you are required to work from home.

In all circumstances, please continue to adopt good personal hygiene practices, and seek medical assistance immediately if you or your child are unwell.

How can schools ensure that those who are on LOA do not attend school during their LOA period?

Students and staff who are on LOA will be informed by their respective schools that they are not to attend school within the specified period. Parents of students will also be alerted to this. Together with the LOA notice, schools will also share an advisory to parents and students detailing what they need to do during the LOA period.

Students are reminded to be socially responsible to help keep the school a safe environment for learning. In addition, teachers will contact students on LOA daily to check on their well-being. Schools are always vigilant, and should those on LOA turn up at their schools, they will be sent home immediately.

Do staff/students on LOA need to produce certification that they are fit for duty from a doctor at the end of their 14-day LOA period?

No. Staff and students who have ended the 14-day LOA period without developing any symptoms do not need any certification from a doctor before resuming their normal activities. Schools also do not require these individuals to produce a doctor's note to allow them to return to the schools at the end of the LOA period.

In all circumstances, please continue to adopt good personal hygiene practices, and seek medical assistance immediately if you are unwell.

Are vendors, canteen staff, freelance coaches also covered under the LOA measure?

Yes. The LOA provisions cover teaching staff, non-teaching staff, such as administrators, and other non-school staff, including canteen vendors, security guards, KCare and Student Care Centre staff.

Conduct of National Examinations
What are the arrangements to ensure the well-being of candidates and staff during the national year-end written examinations?

To ensure the well-being of students and staff during the national year-end examinations, safe management measures such as temperature taking, wearing of masks/face shields and keeping a 1.5m distance between candidates, will be implemented in schools and examination venues during the conduct of the national examinations. For more information, please click here for the press release.

In addition, for the upcoming national year-end written examinations, MOE and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) will make special arrangements for candidates who require them. This is to make sure that as many students as possible are given the opportunity to take the examinations, as long as it can be made safe for their schoolmates and invigilators.

The special arrangements are as follows:

Category Examination Arrangements
Confirmed case of COVID-19 infection Candidates are not allowed to sit for examinations.
Quarantine Order (QO)
Stay Home Notice (SHN)
Leave of Absence, due to close contact with COVID-19 confirmed case(s)
Leave of Absence, as a result of staying in the same household with individuals on Home Quarantine Order (HQO) Candidates are allowed to sit for examinations if they test negative for COVID-19.
Medical leave due to acute respiratory infection (ARI)
Approved Absence (AA), as a result of staying in the same household with adults (aged 18 and above) who have flu-like symptoms Candidates are allowed to sit for examinations.
Why are the special arrangements for candidates different for the mid-year and year-end examinations?

For the mid-year Mother Tongue Language written examinations, candidates on QO, SHN, LOA, and those who were on medical leave or who were unwell with flu-like symptoms were not allowed to sit for the examinations. This is because the affected candidates could still have the option to take the MTL written examinations at the year-end – which means missing the mid-year written examinations would not have a significant impact on the candidates' progression.

As the year-end examinations are critical for candidates' progression, it is important that we ensure as many candidates are able to sit for the examinations as possible, and in a safe environment.

MOE and SEAB will adopt a differentiated approach for candidates based on an assessment of their risk of infection, and put in place appropriate safe management measures to safeguard the well-being of all candidates and examination personnel.

Just as those on Stay Home Notice (SHN), or MC with Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) or fever could vote during the General Elections this year, can arrangements be made for exam candidates under such categories to take the national exams?

SHN can be avoided in most cases since the national examinations have been scheduled with the timetable indicated months before the examinations. Given the higher risk of transmission, there are constraints in providing additional resources to administer examinations, especially to individual homes or facilities for candidates on SHN.

Candidates are strongly encouraged to avoid travelling overseas close to their examination dates so that they will not be placed on SHN and risk missing their papers. Candidates who are currently still overseas are encouraged to return early so that they can complete serving their SHN in time to sit for their papers.

Candidates who are diagnosed with ARI can sit for the examinations if they test negative for COVID-19. This is to ensure the safety and well-being of other candidates and staff.

Can't we just postpone or cancel all national examinations? If not, how is MOE helping students who would be sitting for the national examinations this year?

MOE recognises that national examinations are major milestones and we will take into consideration any disruption (including planned or anticipated) that has impact on curriculum time, in order to ensure that graduating students are not disadvantaged. Postponing or calling off the exams altogether is the worst case scenario. While we will not underestimate the possible scale of disruption in the months to come, our focus is to ensure that we support all candidates as much as possible, with the understanding that the exams later this year will continue.

With 4 weeks of HBL in Term 2, and with an additional week of school break for the extended Term 3, we have decided to relieve the curriculum load for the graduating cohorts and have removed selected topics - those that are commonly taught last by all schools towards the end of the academic year - from the national examinations this year. Referred to as "Common Last Topics" (CLTs), these include topics such as "Interactions within the Environment" for PSLE Science, Vectors for O-level Mathematics, and "Introduction to the Chemistry of Transition Elements" for A-level H2 Chemistry. These topics will still be taught, likely as post-examination activity, but will not be examinable. Teachers will inform students about the CLTs in their respective subjects.

For skill-based subjects such as English and Mother Tongue Language, it will neither be meaningful nor practical to identify such topics. In such instances, SEAB will take the disruption to curriculum time into consideration during marking and grading, to ensure that all students are fairly assessed.

Even with the adjustments to national examinations, we recognise that students in graduating cohorts will continue to face some anxiety. Priority has been given to graduating cohorts to return to school in phase 1 of school reopening, so that they can have adequate face-to-face time with their teachers to prepare for the national examinations.

What are the precautionary measures that will be in place during the national examinations to safeguard the safety and well-being of candidates and exam personnel?

SEAB has developed guidelines on precautionary measures to be adopted for the safe conduct of national examinations in schools and other venues. These are in line with the prevailing nationwide guidelines for safe management which includes:

  • Temperature taking and visual screening of all candidates.
  • All candidates will wear face masks when reporting to the examination venue. When seated at the examination desk, candidates are allowed to replace their face masks with face shields. However, they must put on the face masks when they leave the examination venue, such as for visits to the toilet or at the end of the examination.
  • Candidates will be seated 1.5 metres apart from one another, with a maximum of 30 candidates in each classroom.
  • Larger venues, such as school halls, will be zoned with a maximum of 50 candidates in each zone, and up to 250 candidates per venue. There will be a spacing of at least 3 metres between zones. Within each zone, candidates will be seated at least 1.5 metres apart.
  • There will be designated toilets or staggered toilet breaks for groups of candidates where appropriate, to avoid congregation and intermingling between groups.
  • Staggered dismissal timings as well as segregated entry and exit routes to minimise intermingling of candidates and avoid congregation.

MOE and SEAB will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and provide updates if there are any changes to the examination arrangements.

Are there additional precautionary measures in place to protect the well-being of exam personnel who are invigilating candidates under special arrangements?

In addition to the existing safe management and precautionary measures in place for the national examinations, the number of candidates under the special arrangements (such as those on LOA, MC or under AA) that an examination personnel will invigilate is capped at 10 per examination room. The examination personnel will also invigilate candidates with greater distancing to minimise contact with the candidates.

Candidates who are on SHN but given permission to sit for the national examinations due to compassionate reasons will take their examinations in a centralised venue managed by SEAB. Exam personnel who are assigned to invigilate these candidates will be provided with Personal Protective Equipment to safeguard their safety and well-being.

Will MOE be making any other arrangements prior to the start of the national examinations to curb school-based transmissions, and reduce Quarantine Orders (QO)/Leave of Absence (LOA) numbers?

To minimise the risk of school-based transmission of COVID-19 and reduce the number of students placed on QO and LOA, MOE has issued an advisory to encourage all schools to implement a study break for this year's graduating cohorts in the lead-up to the year-end national examinations.

The study break should take into consideration the time needed to complete the syllabus, the impact on student well-being, students' examination readiness, existing school practices and support needed by the students. Students who require caregiving, more targeted academic and/or emotional support as well as a place for self-study, may return to school with the additional safe management measures in place. Teachers will also provide consultation remotely for their students, when needed.

During the study break, students are strongly encouraged to remain at home to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 from the community.

Why don't schools have a fixed study break length for graduating cohorts across all schools?

Schools have the autonomy to determine the length of the study break based on the time needed for completing the syllabus, the impact on student well-being, students' examination readiness, existing school practices and support needed by their students.

What happens if a candidate feels unwell during the written examination?

Candidates who feel unwell during the examination should inform invigilators immediately. They will be escorted out of the examination venue and placed in a separate room. They will not be allowed to continue with the examination and their examination scripts will be submitted to the invigilators. Schools will assess the condition of the candidate and may make arrangements for the candidate to see a doctor.

For such instances, candidates can apply for special consideration.

Why are students on Leave of Absence (LOA), as a result of staying in the same household with individuals on Home Quarantine Order (HQO), tested only once prior to the exam? What if the student becomes positive after that and is asymptomatic?

Those on HQO would have tested negative for COVID-19 and have to comply with strict quarantine measures from the rest of the household. Students on LOA as a result of staying in the same household with individuals on HQO are therefore not at high risk of contracting COVID-19. The LOA is an additional precautionary measure taken by MOE.

Other than testing prior to the examination, students on LOA are also required to take their examinations at a separate venue, with stricter safe management measures implemented.

What if the student is placed on Leave of Absence (LOA), as a result of staying in the same household with individuals on Home Quarantine Order (HQO), right before the exam (e.g. 1 day)/ midway during the exam period?

Such students will be scheduled for COVID-19 testing as soon as possible. They will be able to sit for the exams only when they have been tested negative for COVID-19.

From 17 September 2020, 14 days before the start of PSLE, arrangements will be made for the PSLE cohort to be tested for COVID-19 at first presentation of Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI). Is this a special arrangement just for PSLE? How long will the arrangement last? Is the test free?

Currently, those who are 12 years and below are not routinely tested for COVID-19 at first presentation of ARI. To ensure the early detection of any candidates with COVID-19, MOE and the Ministry of Health have made provisions for students taking PSLE this year to be tested for COVID-19 at first presentation of ARI. This provision will last until the end of the PSLE examinations this year.

The cost of the COVID-19 swab test will be borne by the Government.

Will students in other levels on Quarantine Order (QO)/Stay Home Notice (SHN)/Leave of Absence (LOA)/Approved Absence (AA) be allowed to return to school to sit for their school-based examinations? Will there be similar precautions if they are allowed to return for school-based examinations?

As the purpose of school-based exams is to determine how well the student has learned for that year, and there are other modes of assessing students' learning (e.g. weighted assessments) throughout the year, therefore only students less likely to have COVID-19 on AA will be allowed to return to school for school-based examinations. Additional precautionary measures will be in place to safeguard the well-being of students and staff.

Students on QO/SHN/LOA/medical leave should not sit for any school-based examinations.

Do candidates need to complete as least 50% of the assessment weighting for an affected subject?

Due to the exceptional COVID-19 situation this year, special consideration will be granted on a case-by-case basis for candidates who are unable to complete at least 50% of the assessment weighting for the affected subject. This will take into consideration multiple sources of evidence, including the candidate's performance in the other papers for that affected subject in the national examination and school-based examination, as well as the school cohort's performance in the national examinations and school-based examination.

How can candidates apply for Special Consideration?

School candidates can submit relevant documents (for example, medical certificates) to support their Special Consideration application to SEAB through their school, or directly to SEAB if they are private candidates. All Special Consideration applications are to be submitted within three days after the examination that they are applying Special Consideration for.

Why is SEAB extending the national submission deadlines to some but not all GCE-Level subjects with coursework?

SEAB has extended the national submission deadline for 12 out of 34 GCE N(T)-, N(A)-, O- and A-Level subjects that have a coursework component. For these 12 subjects, SEAB has taken into consideration that about two weeks of curriculum time would already be recovered from removing schools' mid-year examinations. This extension would allow for face-to-face teacher supervision and would not overlap with the school preliminary examinations and national examinations. This extension would also give students more time to complete the coursework and help reduce the anxiety of students and teachers.

However, the coursework submission deadlines remain the same for

  • 10 other GCE-Level subjects, as their submission deadlines are very close to school preliminary examinations or year-end national examinations
  • The remaining 12 subjects at GCE A-Level, as the coursework components can be carried out independently through research and independent study.

Please click here for the full list of subjects with and without extension of submission deadlines (PDF, 19KB).

Please click here for the press release (PDF, 123KB).

For private candidates, will the same special arrangements as well as safe management measures (SMM) apply, and will they be entitled to Special Consideration?

Private candidates will be subjected to the same special arrangements and SMM as candidates from mainstream schools, since they would also sit for their exams in similar conditions and settings.

Special Consideration for private candidates will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Under what circumstances should a private candidate take the swab test before the national examinations?

The private candidate should take the swab test if he/she:

  • stays in the same household with individuals on HQO. Candidates can write to SEAB at seab_gce_admin@seab.gov.sg to be scheduled for testing; or
  • is on medical leave due to Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI). Candidates who are unwell and, in particular, if they display respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, cough or sore throat, should see a doctor at a designated General Practitioner (GP) clinic participating in the Swab-and-Send-Home (SASH) initiative, or a polyclinic, promptly. A list of GP clinics participating in the SASH initiative can be found at www.phpc.gov.sg.

The outcome of the swab test will be made known via SMS or call by the doctor typically within a few working days. It will also be available on the HealthHub online/ mobile application. Some results may take longer if additional verification is needed.

Candidates must present their swab test results to the Chief Presiding Examiner of the examination centre when reporting for their examination. Only candidates who are COVID-negative will be permitted to sit for their paper.

Institutes of Higher Learning
What activities can resume in IHLs in Phase Two?

Students in IHLs will continue to return primarily for practical and lab sessions, with a maximum of 50 persons per class. Similarly, other classes or consultations that were previously conducted online can now gradually resume on campus, with no more than 50 persons (including the lecturer/tutor) per class. All large-scale classes and lectures will continue to be held online.

Selected student activities, such as project work discussions, fitness training and face-to-face counselling, may resume gradually, subject to the necessary safe management measures, including maintaining at least a one-metre distance between individuals and having no more than 50 persons in a venue.

Large-scale orientation activities will still not be allowed, but some smaller-scale activities can proceed with the safe management measures. These include briefings, campus tours and non-contact ice-breaking activities.

How will IHLs safeguard the well-being of staff and students returning to the campus?

The IHLs will continue to adopt similar measures as schools, to ensure safe management on campus. These include the following:

  • All students, staff, vendors and visitors will be required to check in and out using SafeEntry, when entering or leaving the campus. Temperature and symptom screening will also be done at entrances.
  • All students and staff will be required to wear masks at all times, although teaching staff have the option of wearing face shields in lieu of masks in specific teaching settings.
  • Fixed seating and safe distancing in teaching venues where applicable.
  • To reduce intermingling between students on campus, IHLs will stagger the start and end timings for lessons.
How about international students who are currently in their home countries?

International students who are currently in their home countries will continue with full home-based learning. IHLs will remain in close contact with them, and continue to offer them the necessary academic support, to mitigate impact on their learning.

Can other students return to IHL campuses outside of timetabled lessons?

No. Students are required to adhere strictly to their scheduled reporting times, and remain in their assigned practical or lab groups while on campus. Students who require counselling or other support from their IHL should make an appointment with the relevant department and obtain prior approval before they return to campus. This is part of the effort to ensure safe management on campus, to reduce transmission risks.

Are IHL students and staff required to wear masks when they return to campus?

Yes, in line with the national policy, all staff and students will generally be required to wear masks at all times while on campus.

Notwithstanding this, the use of face shields instead of masks is allowed for the following groups or in the following settings:

  • Persons who have health conditions that may result in breathing or medical difficulties when a mask is worn for a prolonged period of time; and
  • Persons who are speaking to a group in a classroom or lecture-style setting, where they largely remain at the spot where they are speaking, and are able to maintain a safe distance from other persons. This would include teachers and lecturers in schools and IHLs respectively, when they are in their classrooms and lecture halls.
Why is the treatment for IHL students different from the staggered approaches for the general education levels (i.e. staggered approach for primary and secondary students; and 50% cohort for JC students)?

The nature of the IHLs' curriculum often involves more applied and practical components of learning. Therefore, the IHLs will manage the on-campus student presence by prioritising learning activities that require access to campus facilities, such as practical, lab and studio sessions, including capstone and final-year projects. Lectures and tutorials will continue to remain online for now.

This approach allows the IHLs to give all students the opportunity to return for some lessons at the earliest opportunity, prioritising hands-on lessons in the labs and studios that require face-to-face interactions or demonstrations, or specialised equipment, and are difficult or not possible to effectively carry out online.

Is the SafeEntry system for everyone who enters the IHL campus (students, school staff, vendors and visitors)?

Yes. All persons entering and existing the IHL campuses must check in/out using SafeEntry at the designated checkpoints. Compliance with the SafeEntry requirement is mandatory, and checks will be done to ensure compliance.

The IHLs are suspending their official overseas placements (e.g. internship or exchange programmes). How will the affected students be supported?

Given the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 situation, MOE and the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) have decided to suspend all official overseas placements, including all internships and exchange programmes, until end-July. Students who are currently on such overseas placements will be recalled as soon as is practicable.

The decision to suspend overseas placements was reached after careful consideration of the uncertainties ahead, the fact that the students would be able to access similarly meaningful learning opportunities locally (e.g. local internships, credit bearing modules during summer semester), as well as the well-being of our students and their academic progression.

IHLs will work with each affected student to provide alternative learning arrangements so that they can graduate on time, to support them at no additional cost. MOE will continue to monitor the global situation and work closely with the IHLs to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.

Private Tuition, Enrichment and Training
Are all types of tuition and enrichment classes allowed to resume?

Most face-to-face tuition and enrichment classes were allowed to resume from Phase Two of the post-Circuit Breaker period ("Safe Transition"), which started on 19 June 2020. In line with the rest of the economy, they are subject to safe management measures.

Classes which involve activities with potentially higher risk of virus transmission through droplet spread (such as singing, voice projection, playing of wind or brass instruments or other instruments that require intentional expulsion of air) will be allowed to resume from 3 August 2020. They will be subject to additional safe management measures, in view of the higher risks involved (please refer here for details).

What are the safe management measures that tuition and enrichment centres should be implementing?

To reduce risk of transmission of COVID-19, tuition and enrichment centres are required to abide by the nationwide safe management measures for workplaces issued on 9 May 2020. These include health checks, the use of SafeEntry to support contact tracing for all employees and students, and regular cleaning of common facilities and high-touch areas. More details are available at the GoBusiness website (https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg/safemanagement/general).

As a default, tuition and enrichment centres that provide classes are expected to observe the following measures in classrooms and other areas accessed by students:

  1. Safe distancing. Safe distancing measures for tuition and enrichment are:
    1. Students: Centres must ensure safe distancing between students by putting up appropriate floor demarcations and/or physical barriers, e.g. using safety tape. There must also be strict separation between students in different classrooms at all times, with no intermingling.
      • As a default, centres must ensure that all students maintain safe distancing of at least 1m at all times, with strictly no physical interaction between students.
      • If it is not possible to apply 1m safe distancing between students and some interaction is unavoidable, centres may instead organise students into groups of no more than 5 students, with strictly no physical interaction or intermingling between different groups. Centres must strictly maintain a minimum of 1m spacing between groups, although MOE advises 2m spacing between groups as a best practice.
    2. Tutors/instructors: They are allowed to move between groups. However, contact should be transient and they should remain at the front of the class as much as is practicable.
    3. Capacity: Additionally, no single room within a centre should hold more than 50 persons, including tutors/instructors, even as the above measures are adopted.
  2. Health declarations. Private tuition and enrichment centres should not permit students who are placed on Leave of Absence (LOA) or Approved Absence (AA) by their schools, or students who are on a Stay Home Notice (SHN), or Home Quarantine Order (HQO) to attend lessons. In alignment with practices in MOE schools, we also advise centres to watch out for students with fever or respiratory symptoms, such as sneezing, breathlessness, runny nose, loss of smell, cough, or sore throat. Students with visible symptoms of the above should be sent home, rather than allowed to attend lessons. As a best practice, they should also check if a family member living in the same household is unwell.
  3. Disinfection of surfaces. All surfaces in classrooms must be thoroughly disinfected between classes. Sharing of all equipment (e.g. props, musical instruments) should be avoided as far as possible. If this cannot be done, the equipment should be thoroughly cleaned and/or disinfected before being handled or used by others. Please note that sharing of wind/brass instruments or parts thereof (e.g. mouthpieces, reeds) is not allowed (please refer here for details).
  4. Masks must be worn as a default at all times, except for persons allowed to use face shields instead of masks (e.g. instructors/teachers who remain at the spot from which they are speaking and are able to maintain a safe distance of at least 1m away from others, and persons with health conditions resulting in breathing/medical difficulties when a mask is worn for a prolonged period). Children aged between 2 and 6 years of age should continue to wear masks/face shields when attending tuition and enrichment classes, as they are still in a group setting and may interact with others. However, centres may exercise some flexibility in requiring compliance from such children who have difficulties wearing masks/face shields, e.g. those with special needs.
  5. Class timings. Centres must allocate at least 30 minutes between classes. This is to allow adequate time to disinfect classroom surfaces, and to ensure strict separation of individuals from different classes. Parents are encouraged to drop off and pick up children promptly to avoid students lingering in waiting areas. Centres should also work out attendance and dismissal arrangements that help avoid congestion of individuals in or outside the centre. Parents are encouraged to drop off and pick up children promptly to avoid students lingering in waiting areas.
Some tuition and enrichment classes involve high movement activities (e.g. sports, dance), or activities which carry a higher risk of virus transmission through droplet spread (e.g. singing, wind/brass instruments). What additional safe management measures should be implemented?

The following additional safe management measures apply:

Sports and Dance Classes

  1. Masks may only be removed when performing strenuous activities, although it is still recommended as good practice even under such circumstances.
  2. Participants should maintain at least 2m safe distancing from others, and try to minimise physical contact as much as possible
  3. There should be a minimum of 3m spacing between each group, if more than one group is using the same venue.

Singing, Voice Training, Speech and Drama, Wind/Brass Instrument Classes

  1. Group sizes are limited to five participants (excluding one instructor), except for singing classes which are limited to one participant (excluding one instructor). No more than one group is permitted in the same room.
  2. Masks must continue to be worn as a default, unless when unmasking is necessary for the activity. If possible, face shields should be worn even when unmasked.
  3. Participants should maintain at least 2m safe distancing from others and refrain from positioning themselves directly opposite each other. For singing classes, participants should sing away from each other. If they cannot do so, they should maintain more than 2m safe distancing from each other.
  4. For wind/brass instrument classes,
    1. Instructors should continue to wear masks when singing or humming a passage of music to demonstrate how it should sound when played on the instrument.
    2. Participants should play on wind instruments which are fully intact, and refrain from training practices involving only parts of the instrument (e.g. mouthpiece buzzing, playing with just the lead pipe) to prevent droplet transmission.
    3. Sharing of music instruments or parts thereof (e.g. mouthpieces, reeds) is not allowed.
    4. Liquids from instruments (i.e. condensation and saliva) must be collected and disposed of hygienically.

For detailed guidance, please also refer to the advisories issued by Sport Singapore and the National Arts Council.

Will private tutors operating out of private residences be allowed to resume face-to-face lessons?

Yes, private tutors operating out of private residences have been allowed to resume lessons from Phase Two, i.e. from 19 June 2020. Home-based tuition/enrichment is subject to prevailing safe management measures for home-based services, including the cap of 5 visitors allowed in the home at any one time. Such tutors must also use SafeEntry for visitors to support contact tracing; if the tutor is awaiting the set-up of a SafeEntry account, s/he should maintain a manual log of visitors in the interim.

Parents and tutors should also adhere to prevailing safe distancing measures, i.e. they should ensure that students and tutors maintain safe distancing of at least 1m at all times, with strictly no physical interaction between individuals. If it is not possible to apply 1m safe distancing between students (e.g. in residences), tutors must limit classes to no more than 5 persons, including the tutor, with suitable spacing between individuals where possible.

Private tutors operating out of residences are also advised to put in place appropriate precautionary measures, and work with parents to ensure that they are comfortable with the measures taken. These should include:

  1. Wearing of masks by all staff and students
  2. Temperature screening and health declarations (tutors should turn away or not conduct tuition for persons who are unwell or have been issued with Approved Absence/Leave of Absence by their respective schools or Stay Home Notice/Home Quarantine Order by the authorities)
  3. Clear record-keeping of staff/students to facilitate contact-tracing (Note: Where the tutor has to visit multiple places of residence, the tutor is expected to maintain a personal log of his/her activities, to facilitate contact tracing if necessary.)
  4. Disinfection of surfaces between classes, if venue is hosted by tutor and shared by multiple students
Will Continuing Education and Training (CET) courses for adults be allowed to continue?

With effect from 19 June 2020, in-person training have been permitted for all CET activities at the Institutes of Higher Learning and by SSG-funded training providers. Notwithstanding this, online learning should remain the default for all CET activities where feasible.

For health and safety reasons, the maximum class size for all CET activities is capped at 50 persons (including the trainer(s)). For SSG-funded CET programmes, SSG's prevailing guideline for a maximum class size of 40 persons (including the trainer(s)) for course quality reasons remains and sits on top of this.

As far as possible, training providers should ensure safe distancing of at least 1m between individuals at all times. Where not feasible or practical to do so, this 1m requirement can instead be enforced between groups, with each group made up of not more than five persons, and no mixing between groups. There should be assigned seating in classrooms and other training venues where practicable.

As with all other activities outside of the home, masks should be worn at all times.

Will private tuition/enrichment classes and training sessions held in external venues (e.g. function rooms) be allowed to resume?

Yes, private tuition/enrichment classes, and training sessions by the Institutes of Higher Learning and SSG-funded training providers, conducted at external venues will be allowed to resume, if those venues are open. Such external venues may include condominium function rooms, private conference and meeting rooms, etc.

However, resumption of face-to-face lessons is subject to premise capacity caps and safe management measures. Private providers should approach premise owners for advice on the capacity caps for their respective venues during Phase 2. No single room should hold more than 50 persons, including tutors/instructors/trainers, or the premise capacity cap, whichever is lower. For SSG-funded CET programmes, SSG's prevailing guideline for a maximum class size of 40 persons (including the trainer(s)) for course quality reasons remains and sits on top of this.

There should be a wipe-down regimen after each use at such external venues. Private providers must also adhere to the safe management guidelines for private tuition/enrichment and CET courses, which are outlined in the FAQs within this section.

Can private tutors wear face shields instead of face masks during private tuition/enrichment lessons?

Tutors/instructors may wear a face shield instead of a mask only when they are teaching or delivering a lecture in a classroom or lecture-style setting, where they largely remain at the spot from which they are speaking, and are able to maintain a safe distance (i.e. at least 1m away) from any other person. They must wear a mask once they have finished teaching.

Tutors based in private residences must always wear a mask.

Can MOE help to facilitate a refund of the fees I have already paid when face-to-face tuition was suspended?

As matters pertaining to the payment of fees is a contractual matter and practices vary across different providers, we advise parents, guardians and affected students to work with and seek an amicable resolution directly with the private provider in question.

What support is available for tuition and enrichment centres, which experienced a loss of income due to the earlier closures or prevailing safe management measures?

The Government has announced measures to help affected workers and businesses tide over this period of decreased cashflow. These include:

  • A wage offset for businesses of 75% for all local (Singapore Citizen and Permanent Resident) employees up to the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages for (a) April and May 2020; and (b) any further period they are not allowed to resume operations, or August 2020, whichever is earlier
  • Automatic deferment of income tax payments for 3 months for companies and self-employed persons
  • Enhanced rental waivers to support tenants – under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, tenants who are unable to pay rent and serve a notice for relief will have their rental payments suspended for up to 6 months, and leases cannot be terminated by landlords for non-payment of rent.

For more information, please refer to http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg and the Ministry of Law website (http://www.mlaw.gov.sg).

Therapy and Assessment Services for SEN
I am a private provider / Allied Health Professional offering services for students with Special Educational Needs (SEN) or disabilities. May I provide services and what are the safe management measures that I need to adhere to?

With the move to Phase 2 from 19 Jun, efforts taken during the circuit breaker period and Phase One of reopening should be sustained. Hence, Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) should continue to adjust their work accordingly to ensure adherence to prevailing precautionary measures and safe distancing requirements relevant to each setting, as well as infection and control measures such as hand hygiene and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) guidelines

All non-PHI AHS, including psychology services, must adhere to the following requirement from 19 June 2020:

  1. AHPs can resume full operations and provide group therapy for a maximum of 5 clients (count excludes AHPs and support staff).
  2. AHPs should limit their practice to up to two places of practice if necessary (refer to MOH Circular No. 102/2020 on 'Updated Guidance on Cross-Institutional Movement of Healthcare Workers at DORSCON Orange')
  3. Adhere to prevailing requirements relevant to each setting, as well as Safe Management Measures, and infection control and appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) usage, as specified in MOH Advisory No. 11/2020 '[Update] Phase Two Service Resumption Plans for Non-Public Healthcare Institution (PHI) Outpatient Allied Health Services '

All providers/AHPs do not need to apply for an exemption before resuming operations. For providers/AHPs that have yet to submit manpower details via the GoBusiness portal (https://covid.gobusiness.gov.sg), please do so within two weeks of the date of resumption of operations. In the interest of reducing physical contact between individuals, telecommuting should remain the default for all businesses where feasible.

Other face-to-face services for students with SEN or disabilities, including private tuition/enrichment or learning support, will be allowed to resume from 19 Jun 2020, and are subjected to safe management measures. More details are available in the FAQ 'What are the safe management measures that tuition and enrichment centres should be implementing' under the category "Tuition and Enrichment Centres".

School meal subsidies for students on MOE FAS during HBL
Where can MOE FAS students use the extended meal subsidies in the Student Smartcard (Student EZ-link card) for the purchase of meals?

The Student Smartcard can be used for payment at:

  • 146 hawker centres and coffee shops. Stalls that accept payment using the Student Smartcard will display the EZ-Link logo; and
  • certain convenience stores and supermarkets.

Eligible students can approach their school for the list of merchants that accept payment via Student Smartcard.

Home-Based Learning (HBL)
Why are schools resuming the use of video conferencing platforms like Zoom, given the recent security and privacy concerns?

Video conferencing platforms are very useful for students to engage in live lessons. Students are motivated to learn in such a social setting. MOE temporarily suspended the use of all video conferencing platforms following two incidents of security breaches in lessons conducted via Zoom during the first week of full home-based learning. This was to ensure that the security issues are ironed out before teachers progressively resume the use of these platforms for secure video conferencing.

Teachers have been provided with a checklist and a step-by-step guide on putting the necessary security settings and protocols in place before they use these platforms (e.g. verifying the identity of students before admitting them into the lesson). This will ensure consistent application of secured use of video conferencing across all schools and will also guide and support teachers in using these tools effectively. As long as individual teachers have demonstrated familiarity and complied with the security protocols as required, they can resume the use of video conferencing platforms for Home-Based Learning.

Zoom and Google Meet have released new versions over the Good Friday weekend, adding enhanced security features. For example, Google Meet now requires users to log in before being allowed to participate in classes. Zoom has consolidated its security settings under a "security button" to make it easier for users to access the settings. From 13 April, MOE will also centrally manage teachers' default security settings with Zoom to further secure the platform across all school users. These default settings will enable us to better control or restrict the use of Zoom's features, while allowing live lessons to still take place. As security concerns are addressed and users become more familiar with the security protocols, we will progressively enable these features again.

Are other video conferencing tools allowed, other than Zoom and Google Meet? How can schools ensure that these are safe platforms?

Teachers currently use a range of video conferencing tools. While Zoom and Google Meet are two of the most commonly used platforms, teachers also use other platforms like Facebook Live and Cisco WebEx. There is no requirement for teachers to restrict themselves to Zoom and Google Meet.

Schools are provided with a checklist and other materials to ensure the safety and security of our students and teachers when carrying out video conferencing on these platforms. Students must also be responsible users of technology and play their part by observing appropriate behaviour when video conferencing (e.g. following their teachers' instructions, not sharing passwords with others).

I have three children and do not have enough devices at home for their Home-Based Learning (HBL). What should I do?

HBL involves both online and offline approaches to learning. Therefore, not all HBL will require the use of devices and your children can take turns to use the device.

If the HBL plan issued by the school requires the use of a computer/device and your child is not equipped with one, please approach your child's school for assistance. All schools are equipped with sufficient devices to loan out to students for online HBL. School can also assist if your child does not have access to the internet at home.

How will students continue with their learning from home?

Schools will plan and implement a Home-Based Learning (HBL) plan that best suits students' needs and the nature of the subject. For example, schools may inform their students about specific pieces of homework or textbook reading assignments. We encourage students to exercise self-discipline in following the instructions and completing their lessons and assignments.

Schools can also leverage technology to carry out HBL. Teachers may assign students lessons from the Singapore Student Learning Space (SLS). Teachers will be able to monitor the students' learning progress and submission of assignments through SLS. In addition, teachers may use real-time video conferencing platforms to conduct some of their lessons, where feasible.

How can I help facilitate/support my child's learning at home?

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Work out a daily schedule/routine with your child - guide your child in setting goals and scheduling tasks, as part of developing the valuable life skills of time management and self-discipline which your child can acquire when doing Home-Based Learning (HBL). For further tips on guiding your child in setting goals, refer to the Resilience Boosters at https://go.gov.sg/selresforparents.
  • Have an agreement with your child on managing screen time. When it comes to using technology to support HBL, schools will assign between 2 to 3 hours of online learning every day. You can work out an agreement with your child to take short breaks in between online learning, and reduce their recreational screen time, e.g. time spent on video games and social media. They can replace recreational screen time with healthy offline activities, such as reading books or playing board games with family members. For further tips and guides on reinforcing your child's cyber wellness, please refer to: https://ictconnection.moe.edu.sg/cyber-wellness/for-parents
  • Encourage your child to maintain an optimistic and positive outlook while accepting the changes and emotions that he/she has had to face as part of going through HBL.
Government Quarantine Facilities
Why do we allow university dorms to be designated as Government Quarantine Facilities (GQFs)? Will allowing this put the wider student population at risk?

Currently, there are three university hostels designated as Government Quarantine Facilities (GQFs) – designated blocks at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Prince George's Park Residences, Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Graduate Hall 1, and Singapore Management University's (SMU) Blk 83 Prinsep St. They have always been part of the Government's national contingency plan for a disease outbreak. We are getting them ready to be on standby, should the number of people served with QO goes up. The designated hostels will only be primarily activated when a student in our educational institutions or schools is required to serve QOs and does not have suitable accommodation.

Persons served QOs are required to stay in their designated rooms at all times within the allocated quarantine period. They are not allowed to use common facilities within the GQF. There will be no visitors, and food and all necessary supplies will be delivered to them.

There are also security measures in place to ensure compliance to GQF guidelines. All staff working at the GQF are also provided with personal protective equipment, such as masks, as advised by the Ministry of Health (MOH). GQFs also undergo rigorous cleansing and hygiene regimes according to MOH and National Environment Agency (NEA) guidelines. In other words, the persons will not be mingling with the larger population around them.