Last Updated: 16 May 2021

FAQs: COVID-19 related matters

Last updated: 16 May 2021, 3:00pm


Arts and Culture classes - UPDATED
What are the current guidelines for higher risk arts and culture classes (i.e. singing, voice training, speech and drama, and wind and brass instruments)? [UPDATED]

Higher risk arts and culture classes (i.e. involving activities like singing, voice training, speech and drama, wind and brass instrument playing) will be suspended during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert).

Arts and culture classes that do not involve higher risk activities, such as singing, voice training, speech and drama, wind and brass instrument playing, can continue to have a maximum of 50 per class (including students, instructor(s), and other related personnel) with prevailing safe distancing measures in place, including mask-wearing at all times.

What are the safe management measures (SMMs) in place for higher risk arts and culture classes (i.e. singing, voice training, speech and drama, and wind and brass instruments)? Would these SMMs apply to my child's CCA(s) and/or private enrichment activities? [UPDATED]

All student activities involving higher risks, such as singing, voice training, speech and drama, and wind/brass instruments will be suspended during Phase 2 (Heightened Alert).

COVID-19 Vaccination
Why is MOE commencing vaccination for personnel in the education sector?

The vaccination of personnel in the education sector complements existing efforts in keeping educational institutions safe, as children and the majority of our students are not yet medically eligible for vaccination*.

Vaccination is critical to protect those working in educational institutions and their loved ones against COVID-19. Vaccination also protects those in our community who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons. This collective protection will become more effective as more people are vaccinated and is a key enabler allowing us to return to normalcy. While COVID-19 vaccination is not mandatory, we will strongly encourage all medically- eligible individuals working in educational institutions to step forward and be vaccinated. This move will keep them safe, and in turn protect their families as well as younger students who cannot yet be vaccinated.

For more information on Singapore's COVID-19 vaccination programme, please refer to MOH's website.

* Currently, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have been authorised for use in Singapore in individuals aged 18 years and above, and aged 16 years and above respectively.

How would schools ensure the continuity of school activities, including teaching and learning, with the ongoing vaccination exercise for staff?

Schools will plan and manage the vaccination exercise such that it will minimise disruption to school operations. Schools will encourage staff to:

  • Schedule their vaccination early and, where possible, during the March school holidays, but with some reasonable staggering;
  • Consider the timing for both first and second doses when scheduling for vaccinations, and avoid the period of critical school activities;
  • Sign up for slots during weekends, if they are able to.
Which groups of personnel in the education sector have been identified to receive the vaccination? Why have they been considered for vaccination?

The vaccination exercise complements our existing efforts in keeping educational institutions safe, as children and the majority of our students are not yet medically eligible for vaccination*.

The vaccination exercise will cover all staff in the following educational institutions:

  • Preschools licensed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), MOE Kindergartens and Foreign System Kindergartens registered by MOE
  • Early Intervention centres/programmes (funded by or registered** with ECDA) for children with developmental needs, aged 6 and under
  • Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Junior Colleges and Millennia Institute
  • Special Education schools
  • Institute of Technical Education
  • Polytechnics
  • Private Schools registered with MOE with full-time students below 18 years old
  • Private Education Institutions (including international schools) with full-time students below 18 years old
  • Madrasahs

The vaccination exercise will also include other individuals who work in these institutions and come into regular contact with students, such as administrative staff, adjunct staff, school-based and community-based student care centre staff, special student care centre staff, and canteen/bookshop vendors, Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) instructors/coaches and bus drivers/attendants.

* Currently, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have been authorised for use in Singapore in individuals aged 18 years and above, and aged 16 years and above respectively.

** A list of EI programmes registered with ECDA can be found in the Baby Bonus Approved Institution website

Why are students not considered to be part of the vaccination exercise?

Currently, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have been authorised for use in Singapore in individuals aged 18 years and above, and aged 16 years and above respectively.

As such, many of our students are not yet medically eligible for vaccination.

For more information on Singapore's COVID-19 vaccination programme, please refer to MOH's website.

TraceTogether-only SafeEntry
Will I be denied entry to IHLs/PEIs if I do not have the TraceTogether (TT) App, or misplace or forget to bring my TT Token?

All students, staff and visitors are expected to use the TT App or Token to check in. Individuals will only be granted entry with IDs as a last resort.

What if my child lost or misplaced his/her TT Token?

Those who have lost or misplaced their Tokens can get replacements at any of the Community Centres/Clubs (CCs) listed on the TokenGoWhere website. The first replacement for lost Tokens will be free.

What should I do if my child missed the deadline to collect the TraceTogether (TT) Tokens from schools?

Students may still collect their Tokens at any of the Community Centres/Clubs (CCs) listed on the TokenGoWhere website if they missed the deadline to request for it via their respective schools. Parents may also collect the Token on their child’s behalf.

How does the TraceTogether (TT) App and/or Token collect and store my child’s data?

For more information on the collection and storage of TraceTogether data, please refer to the TokenGoWhere website.

How are schools implementing TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SE)? When would this implementation take place? Aren't schools already safe with all the safe management measures?

[Updated to reflect MOE's Press Release on 4 May 2021]

Schools are generally safe with all the existing safe management measures in place. With the nationwide implementation of TT-only SE from 17 May 2021, students should have their TT Token or App with them in school to facilitate accurate contact tracing.

Students will not be denied entry to school should they misplace or forget to bring the Token to school. However, if they are involved in external activities at venues that require TT-only SE, they must have their TT Token/App with them to ensure they are able to participate in these activities.

For students who had missed the deadline to request for a Token via their respective schools, they may still collect it at any of the Community Centres/Clubs (CCs) listed on the TokenGoWhere website. Parents may also collect the Token on their child’s behalf.

Should my child bring the TraceTogether (TT) Token to school? Can my child use the TT App instead of using the Token?

While the TT App serves the same function as the TT Token and students can use the TT App, they may not have access to their handphones all the time during classes or outdoor activities. As such, students are encouraged to bring the TT Token to school for ease of contact tracing.

For students who had missed the deadline to request for a Token via their respective schools, they may still collect their Tokens at any of Community Centres/Clubs (CCs) listed on the TokenGoWhere website. Parents may also collect the Token on their child's behalf.

Will my child be denied entry to schools if he/she does not have the TraceTogether (TT) App, or misplaces or forgets to bring his/her TT Token?

Students will not be denied entry to schools in such a situation. However, they are expected to have their TT App/Token with them daily to facilitate contact tracing.

Can my child with special educational needs (SEN) be excused from wearing or carrying the TraceTogether (TT) Token?

Parents of students with SEN are encouraged to obtain and use the TT Token for their child for school activities that may require it and for their private use.

Parents of students who do not routinely carry a TT Token should take note that some out-of-school activities (e.g. external CCAs, Learning Journeys) could involve entry to public/commercial buildings which require the TraceTogether App or Token when TraceTogether-only SafeEntry is implemented from 17 May 2021. For such activities, parents may wish to work out an arrangement with their child's school to facilitate the use of the child's TT Token for these activities.

For students who had missed the deadline to request for a Token via their respective schools, they may still collect their Token at any of the Community Centres/Clubs listed on the TokenGoWhere website. Parents may also collect the Token on their child's behalf.

How are IHLs implementing the TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SE)? When would this implementation take place? Aren't IHLs already safe with all the safe management measures?

[Updated to reflect MOE's Press Release on 4 May 2021]

IHLs have implemented all the necessary safe management measures, including the use of TraceTogether (TT).

As part of the nationwide implementation, IHLs are also required to implement TT-only SE from 17 May 2021. This will give us greater assurance as we progressively resume more activities and to ease certain restrictions, both in and out of campuses.

Students and staff who are not onboard the TT Programme may wish to download the TT App on their smartphones, or collect a TT Token at any of the Community Centres/Clubs (CCs) listed on the TokenGoWhere website.

Will Private Education Institutions (PEIs) be required to implement TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SE)?

PEIs are required to implement TT-only SE from 17 May 2021.

Students and staff who are not onboard the TT Programme may wish to download the TT App on their smartphones, or collect a TT Token at any of the Community Centres/Clubs (CCs) listed on the TokenGoWhere website.

What happens if the TraceTogether (TT) Token is damaged or misplaced? Will there be any charges incurred for replacements?

To avoid damaging the Token, the Token should not be placed in water, near fire sources or dropped from height. Individuals should also not attempt to tamper with the device, as doing so is a violation of the Computer Misuse Act.

To avoid losing the Token, you may personalise it with a lanyard, accessory, add a name sticker label or write your name on the Token. However, please do not write over, cover or remove the QR code on the Token.

Damaged or faulty TT Tokens can be replaced for free at any Community Centre/Club (CCs), or at the Token replacement booths set up in selected malls. Those who have misplaced their Tokens can get replacements at the active collection venues listed on the TokenGoWhere website. The first replacement of lost Tokens will be free.

For more assistance, you may call the hotline (6973 6511) or write to support@tracetogether.gov.sg.

What if the TraceTogether (TT) Token runs out of battery?

The TT Token's battery is expected to last six months and is non-rechargeable.

TT Token users can check if their Token is working by looking out for a green light that blinks about once every minute. If the Token is blinking red, or if there is no light at all, users should replace their Token at any Community Club/Centre (CC), or at Token replacement booths set up at selected malls. More information can be found on the TokenGoWhere website.

For more assistance, please call the service hotline (6973 6511) or email support@tracetogether.gov.sg.

Can TraceTogether (TT) be used to track the movements of a person within and outside the schools/IHLs?

Similar to the TT App, the TT Token does not capture geo-location data and hence, cannot track movements. As the TT token does not have internet or cellular connectivity, the data on the Token cannot be accessed remotely.

Designed to interoperate with the TT App, the Token works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals with other TraceTogether devices in close proximity. Records of proximity data of close contacts are encrypted and stored locally in the Token for no more than 25 days. The Token will only be collected by the relevant authorities (such as MOH) for data extraction to safeguard public health, and only if a user is confirmed to be a COVID-19 case. Our schools and IHLs will not have access to the data.

All public sector data protection rules will apply to the data held by MOH, including abiding by recommendations of the Public Sector Data Security Review Committee.

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
How can Student's Pass (STP) holders apply for entry into Singapore?

Student's Pass (STP) holders and eligible accompanying family members may apply for approval to enter Singapore via the Safe Travel Office (STO) website. Please click here for the requirements and process. You may refer to the Guide to Applying for Entry Approval to help you through the application process, call the Safe Travel Enquiries Helpline at +65 6812 5555 (operating from 8.30am – 12.00am daily), or write to STO using the enquiry form if you need further assistance.

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.

Precautionary measures in schools - UPDATED
I have more than one child attending the same school. As the current group size has been reduced to two, am I allowed to drop off and pick up my children at school? [NEW]

Yes, you may drop off and pick up your children at school. Families in the same household are also allowed to travel in the same car and take public transport.

To reduce the risk of transmission, we encourage parents to minimise intermingling with others of different households and to not loiter around the school gates in order to minimise congestion.

Parents/caregivers should observe safe distancing while waiting to pick up their children.

For detailed guidance, please refer to MOH's clarifications on social gathering sizes in Phase 2 – Heightened Alert.

With the restrictions on dine-in at food & beverages establishments, will my child be able to consume his/her meals in the canteen? [NEW]

Recess timings are staggered to reduce congestion and intermingling between students in school. In the canteen, students are seated in fixed arrangement with 1m spacing, in classrooms or at appropriate venues with 1m spacing. Students are to wear masks at all times except when eating or drinking, and they should not talk when their masks are off.

With the increase in community cases, why are schools not moving to Home-Based Learning? [NEW]

Our schools continue to be safe with the current set of safe management measures that have been implemented, but we will take swift and targeted measures in schools where there are cases of COVID-19 infection to help to break the chain of transmission. Affected students in these schools would be supported when they move to Home-Based Learning to continue their learning.

MOE will continue to monitor the situation closely and review the arrangements. We will not hesitate to take further steps if warranted.

Why not bring forward the June school holidays since so many schools are being moved to Home-Based Learning? [NEW]

With the further enhancements to SMMs, schools are safe for students to learn in. The few schools that have students who have tested positive will enable learning to continue by moving to Home-based Learning to reduce risk of transmission.

How will MOE centre-based lessons be conducted? [UPDATED]

All centre-based lessons# will change to online learning to reduce intermingling risks across schools, including lessons for Non-Tamil Indian Language as part of In-School Parallel Programmes and Weekend Centres.

MOE will continue to monitor the situation closely and review the arrangements.

#: 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

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

Schools will work with the SCC operators to put in place safe management measures to reduce the intermingling of students from different levels. Students will be in fixed groups based on their class and level and allocated designated rooms, preferably on different levels, to minimise contact. There will be no intermingling between groups and no group work. 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:

  • Keep children and staff of the K1 and K2 levels segregated;
  • Keep children segregated by class;
  • Ensure children of K1 and K2 levels do not mix by staggering snack times;
  • Have fixed deployment of KCare staff to each class/level.
With the new variant of COVID-19 surfacing in Singapore, how will schools ensure the safety of my child? [UPDATED]

Our schools continue to be safe with the current set of safe management measures that have been implemented.

MOE continues to monitor the situation closely and we are guided by MOH guidelines.

On the part of parents, please continue to monitor your child’s health, and seek medical attention immediately, if unwell. Please ensure that he/she observes good personal hygiene, practises safe distancing and wears his/her mask when leaving home. Students should stay at home if their household members exhibit flu-like symptoms.

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.

What are the safe management measures put in place in schools? [UPDATED]

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

Screening

  • Twice-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.
  • Students should have either a TraceTogether (TT) Token or App with them, with the nationwide implementation of TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SE) from 17 May 2021. However, students will not be denied entry to school if they forget to bring their TT token. Do note that TT Tokens or Apps will be required for student participation in out-of-school activities where SE check-ins are carried out via TT-only SE.

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.

Mask wearing

  • All students and staff will be required to wear masks at all times. Teachers are to wear surgical masks or reusable masks of equivalent effectiveness.
  • Young children are also encouraged to wear masks, unless they are unable to due to special needs or medical conditions.
  • Any mask-off performing arts activities (e.g. singing, wind/brass instrument playing) will be suspended. Singing and voice projection activities with mask on will also not be allowed.

Safe Distancing

  • All activities to be grouped by class, with the exception of banded classes for MTL, Subject-Based Banding.
  • Designated exam-style classroom seating.
  • No group activities will be allowed.
  • Maximum of 50 persons for all activities, including lectures in school.
  • Teachers are to remain at the front of the classroom when teaching.
  • Staggered arrival, dismissal and/or recess timings to reduce congestion and intermingling between students in school.
  • Fixed seating with 1m spacing during recess. If not possible, students could eat in classrooms or at appropriate venues with 1m spacing.
With the strengthening of Safe Management Measures (SMMs) in schools, can all CCAs and school activities/programmes continue? [UPDATED]

MOE has made changes to current SMMs in schools to ensure the safety of students and staff. These additional measures are intended to reduce intermingling of students across schools and minimise external activities, while ensuring that teaching and learning continue.

All face-to-face CCAs and after-school enrichment activities are to be suspended. Schools can reformat these activities to take place virtually or to conduct the activities which requires physical presence at the class level to minimise intermingling.

Is it compulsory for my child to attend the CCAs? [UPDATED]

Schools have the option to continue CCAs digitally or at the class level, with SMM guidelines in place. If the CCA is able to continue, 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.

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 case(s)/clusters in school? [UPDATED]

If there is a new confirmed case in the school, face-to-face lessons could be suspended for up to 7 calendar days in the first instance. Instead, Home-based Learning will be conducted.

MOE will work closely with MOH to identify all close contacts of the confirmed case and determine whether staff, students and visitors will need to undergo precautionary swab tests.

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).

How will PE lessons be conducted in schools? [UPDATED]

PE lessons for the last two weeks of Term 2 will be class-based and can be held in indoor/outdoor venues, and modified if necessary with masks to be worn at all times. Students can learn skills and perform less strenuous activities in their own space, such as stretching and learning correct exercise techniques. Students can also have theory-based lessons (e.g. nutrition and safety) to support them in leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Students will keep to the group size limit of 2 pax with safe distancing of 2m.

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.

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? [UPDATED]

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.

However, if you or a member of your household are serving your quarantine order at home, your child would need to be placed on Leave of Absence (LOA). Please continue to adopt good personal hygiene practices, and seek medical assistance immediately if you or your child are unwell.

What school facilities will be open for public use under the Dual-Use Scheme (DUS)?

To continue to provide members of the public with access to sports facilities, selected chargeable fields (CFs) and Indoor Sports Halls (ISHs) under the Dual-Use Scheme (DUS) will remain open for public bookings on Saturdays and Sundays. Public use of other DUS facilities, such as all DUS free-to-play fields and DUS courts not within the ISHs, will remain suspended. For more information on the DUS facilities that will be open for public use, as well as the booking details, please refer to https://myactivesg.com.

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.

How are schools implementing the TraceTogether-only SafeEntry system (TT-only SE)? When would this implementation take place? Aren't schools already safe with all the safe management measures?
Should my child bring the TraceTogether (TT) Token to school? Can my child use the TT App instead of using the Token?
Will my child be denied entry to schools if he/she does not have the TraceTogether (TT) App, or misplaces or forgets to bring his/her TT Token?
Can my child with special educational needs (SEN) be excused from wearing or carrying the TraceTogether (TT) Token?

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) or Approved Absence (AA)?

Pre-school, primary, secondary, JC/CI students and students from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) 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; or
  • if members in their households have returned from overseas AND are serving their ICA-issued SHN at their place of residence; or
  • [Only for IHL students] if they return to Singapore from overseas from 2359 hr 7 March 2021 and are serving less than a 21-day SHN^, they would need to serve an additional 7-day LOA. This is in view of the need to keep our IHL campuses safe given the higher density and greater inter-mingling of students within IHLs, and the possibility of tail-end risk of individuals incubating the virus for longer than 14 days. For those already serving a 21-day SHN, there is no need to serve an additional 7-day LOA.

Students can be placed on AA or LOA 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.

^Please refer to ICA's SHN and Swab Requirements for Travellers to Singapore for more details.

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 21 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 7 May 2021, 2359 hours, depending on which country travellers entering Singapore have spent their last consecutive 21 days prior to entering Singapore (link), they could be subject to one of the following:

  • 21-day SHN to be served in dedicated SHN facilities;
  • 14-day SHN to be served in dedicated SHN facilities and an additional 7 days at a self-sourced accommodation;
  • 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 (IHLs) - UPDATED
Will IHL students still be able to participate in internships/work attachments? [UPDATED]

Students can continue to participate in internships/work attachments, and should adhere to all prevailing Safe Management Measures at the organisations they are attached to. For companies that have suspended their operations during the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), internships/work attachments would be correspondingly suspended.

Why were some graduation ceremonies converted to virtual ceremonies?

In view of the current COVID-19 situation and tightened Safe Management Measures, MOE and the IHLs have decided to convert the remaining face-to-face graduation ceremonies to virtual ceremonies to reduce the risk of crowding and exposure on campus, while ensuring the current cohort of students can graduate on time.

MOE and the IHLs understand the significance of graduation for our students. The IHLs will strive to ensure that the virtual ceremonies remain as meaningful experiences for graduands.

How will virtual graduation ceremonies be conducted?

Individual IHLs will inform affected graduands on the details of how their virtual graduation ceremony will be conducted.

How will ITE and the polytechnics ensure that the online EAE selection is fair and rigorous?

Institutions have made appropriate adjustments to their assessment rubrics and criteria, to ensure that the online selection format can continue to be carried out seamlessly this year.

They will also continue to document the EAE selection process, including recording interviews (where appropriate), and the evaluations made by the selection panels.

The assessments will continue to be carried out objectively and rigorously, in a fair and inclusive manner.

With the new variant of COVID-19 surfacing in Singapore, how will IHLs ensure the safety of their students?

While reports have suggested that the new B117 variant is more transmissible, the mode of transmission remains mainly through respiratory droplets. However, IHLs continue to be safe with the current set of safe management measures.

MOE continues to monitor the situation closely and we are guided by MOH guidelines.

Meanwhile, students should continue to monitor their health, and seek medical attention, if unwell. They should observe good personal hygiene, practise safe distancing and wear their masks when leaving home.

With the strengthening of Safe Management Measures (SMMs) in IHLs, can CCAs and activities/programmes continue? [UPDATED]

All CCAs and group student activities should be held online or postponed. Examinations will be conducted in classrooms with no more than 50 persons, or converted to online mode, where practicable.

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

The IHLs will continue to adopt tightened safe management measures to ensure safe management on campus. The measures include the following:

Screening

  • All students, staff, vendors and visitors will be required to check in and out using TraceTogether-only SafeEntry when entering or leaving the campus.
  • Temperature and symptom screening at entrances.
  • 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 campus.

Hygiene

  • Frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces and disinfection of the premises.

Mask Wearing

  • All students and staff will be required to wear masks at all times. When teaching, staff are to wear surgical masks or reusable masks of equivalent effectiveness.
  • Any mask-off performing arts activities (e.g. singing, wind/brass instrument playing) will be suspended. Singing and voice projection activities with mask on will also not be allowed.

Safe Distancing

  • No more than 50 persons for in-person classes or lectures. Classes and lectures larger than 50 persons will be conducted online.
  • Safe distancing of at least 1 metre between individuals on campus.
  • All students and staff are required to wear masks at all times.
  • Fixed seating will be implemented in teaching venues, where practicable.
  • Start and end timings for lessons will be staggered where possible to avoid inter-mingling.
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?

Yes. With the re-opening of the campus and having more in-person classes, students can return to campuses outside of timetabled lessons, subject to prevailing safe management measures.

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.

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.

How are IHLs implementing the TraceTogether (TT)-only SafeEntry system? When would this implementation take place? Aren't IHLs already safe with all the safe management measures?
Will Private Education Institutions (PEIs) be required to implement TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SE)?
Private Education Institutions (PEIs) - NEW
What requirements are PEIs subject to during this period? [NEW]

PEIs are subject to the tightened national SMMs, including guidelines for higher-risk classes and activities on campus such as arts and culture classes, performances and sports and physical exercise activities. PEIs should also take reference from the plans and safe management measures for ECDA-registered preschools, MOE schools and IHLs, and are encouraged to adopt tightened measures aligned to their respective institutional setting.

PEIs with clarifications should approach SkillsFuture Singapore at CPE_Registration@ssg.gov.sg.

Private tuition, enrichment and training - UPDATED
Are all face-to-face lessons at private residences, tuition centres and enrichment centres allowed to resume? [UPDATED]

While most face-to-face tuition and enrichment classes are allowed to resume subject to safe management measures, they are encouraged to consider online lessons as the default arrangement in Phase Two (Heightened Alert) during this period of heightened risk, to reduce physical contact between individuals.

If in-person tuition lessons are to be held at private residences, the tutor and student(s) should be masked at all times.

Classes which involve activities with potentially higher risk of virus transmission through droplet spread (such as singing, playing of wind or brass instruments or other instruments that require intentional expulsion of air) must be suspended from 16 May to 13 Jun 2021 (dates inclusive). Voice training and speech and drama classes may continue, subject to additional safe management measures.

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

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, students and other visitors, wearing of masks at all times, 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).

Tuition and enrichment centres must ensure that work-from-home is the default arrangement for employees who are able to do so.

Hence, tuition and enrichment centres are encouraged to consider telecommuting and online lessons as the default arrangement. In the event that face-to-face classes continue, they are expected to observe all 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 two students, with strictly no physical interaction or intermingling between different groups. Centres must strictly maintain a minimum of 1m spacing between pairs, although MOE advises 2m spacing between pairs as a best practice.
    2. Tutors/instructors: They can move between pairs. However, contact should be transient and they should remain at the front of the class as much as is practicable.
    3. Capacity: No single room within a centre should hold more than 50 persons, including tutors/instructors, even as the above measures are adopted.
    4. Centres are also reminded that per MOM's guidelines for workplaces, there should be no cross-deployment across worksites. More information on prevailing workplace SMMs can be found on the MOM website (https://www.mom.gov.sg/covid-19/requirements-for-safe-management-measures).
  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 sense of smell, cough, or sore throat. Students with symptoms of the above or are otherwise unwell should be sent home immediately, and not allowed to attend lessons. As a best practice, they should also check if a family member living in the same household is unwell. If so, the child should not attend lessons in person.
  3. Disinfection of surfaces. All surfaces in classrooms must be thoroughly disinfected between classes. Sharing of all equipment (e.g. props, microphones) 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; note that all in-person singing, and wind/brass instrument classes are suspended during Phase Two (Heightened Alert)).
  4. Masks must be worn as a default at all times, except for persons allowed to use face shields instead of masks (e.g. 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 children who have difficulties wearing masks/face shields, e.g. those with special needs. Instructors are expected to wear a surgical mask or reusable masks of equivalent effectiveness at all times.
  5. Class timings. Centres must allocate at least 15 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? [UPDATED]

The following additional safe management measures apply:

Sports Classes

Higher-risk facilities, such as indoor gyms and fitness/dance/exercise studios must be closed between 16 May 2021 and 13 Jun 2021 (dates inclusive), unless they only offer low intensity physical activities, sport and exercises, where all participants and instructors are wearing masks at all times, subject to capacity limits (no single room should hold more than 30 persons, including tutors/instructors). Outdoor exercise classes may continue. For detailed guidance, please refer to the advisory issued by Sport Singapore.

Dance Classes

Indoor dance classes may only proceed if they are able to adhere to additional safe management measures (including all participants and instructors wearing masks at all times, and further capacity limits; no single room should hold more than 30 persons, including tutors/instructors), as detailed in the advisory issued by the National Arts Council. Outdoor dance classes must comply with the measures in the advisory issued by Sport Singapore.

Singing, Wind/Brass Instrument Classes

As in-person singing and wind/brass instrument classes involve a higher risk of virus transmission due to voice projection or intentional expulsion of air, they are to be suspended from 16 May to 13 Jun 2021 (dates inclusive).

Voice Training, Speech and Drama Classes

Voice training and speech and drama classes may continue, with all participants and instructors wearing masks at all times, subject to additional safe management measures and capacity limits (no single room should hold more than 30 persons, including tutors/instructors) as outlined in the National Arts Council’s advisory, available at https://www.nac.gov.sg/whatwedo/support/sustaining-the-arts-during-covid-19/Safe-Management-Measures-for-the-Arts-and-Culture-Sector-.html.

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

While private tutors operating out of private residences have been allowed to resume lessons from Phase Two, i.e. from 19 June 2020, MOE strongly recommends that online lessons be the default arrangement, to reduce physical contact between individuals.

Home-based tuition/enrichment is subject to prevailing safe management measures for home-based services, including the cap of two distinct visitors allowed in the home per day. 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 two persons, including the tutor, with suitable spacing between individuals where possible. Home-based businesses registered with URA or HDB should adhere to the separate guidelines issued by the agencies on class sizes.

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

Individuals should also limit their overall number of social interactions, to not more than two per day, whether visiting another household or meeting with friends/family members/students in a public place.

Are private schools, including tuition and enrichment centres, allowed to hold year-end concerts or performances on their premises? [UPDATED]

All indoor live performances scheduled to take place 16 May through 13 Jun 2021 (dates inclusive) are to be deferred/ postponed to reduce the risk of transmission.

Will Continuing Education and Training (CET) courses for adults be allowed to continue? [UPDATED]

Yes, in-person training can continue for all CET activities at the Institutes of Higher Learning and by SSG-funded training providers. Notwithstanding this, online learning should be supported 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 (excluding the trainer(s)) for course quality reasons remains and takes precedence.

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 two persons with effect from 16 May, and no mixing between different groups. There should be assigned seating in classrooms and other training venues where practicable.

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

MOE strongly recommends that telecommuting and online lessons be the default arrangement, to reduce physical contact between individuals. Notwithstanding this, private tuition/enrichment classes, and training sessions by the Institutes of Higher Learning and SSG-funded training providers, conducted at external venues can continue, if those venues are open. Such external venues may include condominium function rooms, private conference and meeting rooms, etc.

However, conduct 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. No single room should hold more than 50 persons, including tutors/instructors/trainers, further capacity limits for masked sports/dance/speech/voice training/drama classes, or the premise capacity cap, whichever is lower.

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? [UPDATED]

To reduce the risk of transmission, all tutors/instructors and students must wear surgical masks or reusable masks of equivalent effectiveness (not face shields) during private tuition/enrichment lessons, regardless of setting.

Can tuition and enrichment centres switch to online learning even as face-to-face classes are permitted? [NEW]

Yes, tuition and enrichment centres are encouraged to consider online lessons as the default arrangement during this period of heightened risk. Tuition and enrichment centres should review the safe management measures that they are able to put in place and can make their own business decisions regarding continuation of online learning, taking into consideration the efficacy of instruction and the needs and expectations of students/parents.

Can employees of private tuition and enrichment centres continue to work, even if centres have switched to online learning? [NEW]

Tuition and enrichment centres are required to abide by the nationwide safe management measures for workplaces. Tele-conferencing should be used in place of in-person meetings as far as possible. Where employees can perform their work by telecommuting from home, employers must ensure that they do so.

In view of the recent case involving a private tutor, will MOE consider stopping private tuition or enrichment? [NEW]

In line with the national posture, private tuition and enrichment may continue under Phase Two (Heightened Alert). Nonetheless, they are encouraged to consider online lessons as the default arrangement during this period of heightened risk. Parents are encouraged to engage their child’s centre and assess if they are personally comfortable with the safe management measures taken, or if they would prefer to switch to online learning.

Will the TraceTogether-only SafeEntry system and the SafeEntry Gateway Device (SEGW) be implemented for tuition, enrichment centres and SSG-funded training providers?

On 4 May 2021, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) announced that TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SafeEntry) will be implemented at all venues that experience higher throughput of visitors, and/or where people are likely to be in close proximity for prolonged periods from 17 May 2021. The TT programme and SafeEntry are important digital tools that enable contact tracers to quickly identify and isolate close contacts of COVID-19 cases. This helps to break transmission chains and prevent community outbreaks. TT tokens may be collected at designated collection points (please refer to https://token.gowhere.gov.sg for more information).

Tuition, enrichment centres and SSG-funded training providers must therefore ensure that TT-only SafeEntry is implemented in your premises from 17 May 2021, and that entry to your centres will be allowed only if the individual uses their TT App to scan the centre’s QR code or presents the QR code on the TT token to be scanned. This includes staff, students aged 7 years and above, parents and other visitors.

From 15 June 2021, it is mandatory for all tuition, enrichment centres and SSG-funded training providers to deploy SafeEntry Gateway (SEGW) to facilitate SafeEntry (SE) check-in for students aged 7 years and above, parents, staff and visitors, and help users check that their TT token is working. Tuition, enrichment centres and SSG-funded training providers are reminded to download the SafeEntry (Business) app to use the SEGW function or register for a SEGW box on the SE website (go.gov.sg/gateway-overview). Centres should maintain attendance records for children below 7 to facilitate contact tracing if required.

At the point of entry into the centres, if any student forgets to bring their TT token, they should be asked to download the TT app on their phones before they are allowed entry. Individuals will only be granted entry with IDs as a last resort.

Between now and 17 May 2021, tuition, enrichment centres and SSG-funded training providers must still be able to check in all visitors (including students and staff) with TT tokens, on top of existing check-in modes. Business may refer to the SafeEntry User Guide for requirements on how to scan the TT tokens, available at https://www.safeentry.gov.sg (please navigate to Resources > User Guide > SafeEntry NRIC User Guide for Business). Updates may also be found at https://www.smartnation.gov.sg/whats-new/press-releases.

Will private tutors operating out of private residences be required to implement the TraceTogether-only SafeEntry system?

As with tuition and enrichment centres (see this question), private tutors operating out of private residences will need to implement TT-only SafeEntry.

Therapy and assessment services for special educational needs
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 3, efforts taken since the circuit breaker period should be sustained. Hence, Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) should continue to adhere 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-Public Healthcare Institution AHS, including psychology services, must adhere to the following:

  1. Group therapy for a maximum of 8 clients (count excludes AHPs and support staff).
  2. Prevailing requirements relevant to each setting, as well as Safe Management Measures, infection control and appropriate PPE usage, as specified in MOH Circular No. 239/2020 on ‘Provision of Allied Health Services and Retail Pharmacy Services and Safe Management Measures in Phase Three of Re-Opening’.

Moving forward, if the prevailing publicly prescribed group size for gatherings changes, the group size allowed for group therapy will change accordingly. No circulars pertaining to changes in group therapy size will be further issued by MOH.

Other face-to-face services for students with SEN or disabilities, including private tuition/enrichment or learning support, were resumed from 19 Jun 2020, subjected to prevailing 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 "Private Tuition, Enrichment and Training".

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.