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Stepping Up Safe Management Measures in Schools and Institutes of Higher Learning

Published Date: 14 May 2021 11:30 PM

News Press Releases

In line with the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) national stance from Sunday, 16 May to Sunday, 13 June, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will tighten current safe management measures (SMMs) in MOE Kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, Special Education (SPED) schools, junior colleges, Millennia Institute and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL) for the continued safety and well-being of students and staff.

Schools and Institutes of Higher Learning

2. Schools and IHLs will continue, but with tightened SMMs from Monday, 17 May to curb the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The additional measures across schools/IHLs are as follows:

  • All students and staff must wear masks, and not face shields1, when in school and on campus, unless they are not able to due to special needs or medical conditions;
  • To reduce intermingling of students, classes will be strictly cohortised, with lectures capped at a maximum of 50 persons. Group size across all activities will be reduced from five to two persons, with SMMs in place;
  • Centre-based classes (please see Annex) will be conducted online;
  • All Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) will be reformatted and conducted online (eCCA);
  • Other external activities such as external CCAs will remain suspended during this period; and
  • In-person events will be suspended. All large-scale events will continue to be cancelled or postponed, or held virtually, if possible.

3. In addition, schools will enforce fixed seating with one metre spacing for recess, with no intermingling. School-based activities and after-school care arrangements will continue, subject to the tightened SMMs. Both school-based mid-year assessments and the mid-year GCE O- and A-Level Mother Tongue Language (MTL) Examinations will proceed. Examinations will be held in the classrooms with safe distancing measures.

4. All IHLs will continue to keep in-person class and lecture sizes to no more than 50 persons. Other larger classes and lectures are to be conducted online. Dining in canteens and dining halls at the IHLs can continue with the necessary SMMs, given that students and staff are on campuses for a longer period of time. Examinations will be reformatted and conducted in classrooms with a maximum class size of 50 persons. Where practicable, IHLs will conduct examinations online. Internships and work attachments will continue, with students adhering to the prevailing SMMs at the organisations they are attached with.

Private Education Institutions and Other Educational Entities

5. Private Education Institutions (PEIs) offering pre-tertiary and tertiary courses must follow the tightened national SMMs. PEIs should also take reference from the plans and safe management measures for schools and IHLs, and are encouraged to adopt tighter measures aligned to their respective institutional setting.

6. While private tuition and enrichment centres may continue operating in Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), they are encouraged to consider online lessons as the default arrangement during this period of heightened risk. In the event that in-person classes proceed, centres must comply strictly with the national SMMs, including the following:

  • Step up screening for staff and students, so that those who are unwell do not attend lessons
  • All instructors/staff and students must wear masks;
  • Students must maintain safe distancing of at least one metre from others and refrain from interacting. If some interaction is unavoidable, they must remain in pairs, with each pair maintaining a distance of at least one metre (preferably two metres) from other groups, with no mixing between groups; and
  • In-person singing and wind instrument classes will be suspended.

7. MOE will continue to monitor the situation closely, and work with schools and IHLs to implement additional SMMs where necessary to ensure the well-being of students and staff. We urge all students and staff to consult a doctor immediately if they are feeling unwell, continue practising good personal hygiene and adhere to SMMs. This includes wearing masks, washing hands frequently, wiping down equipment and tables after each use, seeing a doctor if they are sick and returning to school or campus only when fully recovered.

  1. Face shields should not be used as a substitute for mask wear, except for medical exceptions; or where the child is 12 years or younger.