Moving Towards a More Targeted and Sustainable Approach to Keeping Schools Safe

Published Date: 13 August 2021 12:00 PM

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1. To keep schools safe while ensuring our students can continue learning without disruption, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will adopt a more sustainable, risk-based targeted approach towards school cases, as we learn to live with COVID-19 as an endemic disease.

2. With a clearer understanding of the COVID-19 situation based on empirical evidence and how our measures have been effective in managing the COVID-19 situation in schools, MOE will make careful adjustments to ensure our schools continue to be kept safe, and for learning to continue with a broader range of school activities to gradually resume, in tandem with the push towards a COVID-19 resilient nation.

Minimising Disruptions in Schools

3. Since early August, we have moved towards a more targeted approach which impacts a more targeted group of students. Where possible, schools will no longer place entire levels on Home-Based Learning (HBL) as a default when there is a COVID-19 infection case, but focus on placing close contacts and students from the same classes or CCA groups under LOA or QO instead. This approach will allow the rest of the students and teachers in the level and school to continue with classes in school and minimise disruption, while safeguarding their health and safety. Placing more classes or levels on HBL remains an option should there be a risk of transmission beyond close contacts. Our schools will also continue to monitor the health of students and staff more closely as an additional precaution.

Enhanced Testing for Staff in Schools, Tuition and Enrichment Centres and Student Care Centres

4. From 1 October 2021, the new 'Vaccinate or Regular Test' (VoRT) regime (earlier announced by the MTF) will apply to all MOE staff as public sector employees. MOE will also extend its coverage of the VoRT regime to all categories of staff who are not Government employees and who have regular contact with students aged 12 and below, including in settings that are outside of school such as tuition and enrichment centres and student care centres, as well as school bus drivers and attendants. Under the VoRT regime, staff who are not yet fully vaccinated, unvaccinated or medically ineligible for the vaccination will be tested twice a week.

5. As part of the national Fast and Easy Testing (FET) regime, a smaller group of staff will also have to be regularly tested, even if they are vaccinated, due to their involvement in higher-risk activities. This will include contract cleaners and school canteen operators, as well as PE teachers who conduct mask-off activities as part of PE lessons in our schools. From 3 September 2021, it will also include cleaners in tuition and enrichment centres that cater to students aged 12 and below. Tuition and enrichment centres can register for FET and obtain more details at: https://go.gov.sg/tuition-enrichment-fet.

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