COVID-19: Exam-style classroom seating, activity groups capped at 5 in schools

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·2 min read
SINGAPORE, June 3, 2020 -- Students crowd into a bus stop as they wait for the public bus in Singapore's central area on June 3, 2020. Singapore enters the second day of post lockdown as the state embarked on a phased reopening from a COVID-19
Students at a bus stop at Upper Thomson Road last year. (PHOTO: Xinhua via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Schools and educational institutions will see enhanced safe management measures (SMMs), such as exam-style fixed classroom seating and activities groups reduced from eight persons to five persons, from this Saturday until 30 May amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in the community.

The other measures include reduction of overall capacity for all activities, including lectures, to a maximum of 50 persons and suspension of activities conducted in public spaces such as learning journeys, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said in a statement on Tuesday (4 May).

The measures will apply to MOE Kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, Special Education (SPED) schools, Junior Colleges, Millennia Institute and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs).

The MOE announcement comes after the Ministry of Health on Tuesday confirmed 17 new cases in Singapore, including five local cases in the community, taking the country's total case count to 61,252. 

All five community cases are linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster, which now has 40 cases, including one fatality, and is the biggest active cluster. It is the ninth consecutive day with local cases reported.

School-based activities such as Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) and after-school care arrangements will continue, subject to the tightened SMMs. School-based mid-year assessments and the mid-year GCE O- and A-Level Mother Tongue Language (MTL) examinations will proceed.

Other external activities such as external CCAs and the remaining National School Games (NSG) competitions will be suspended during this period.

Applications for the 2021 Direct School Admission exercises will open from 5 May and the selection process will be conducted via electronic means. The selection for the upcoming polytechnic and ITE Early Admissions Exercise will also be conducted largely via electronic means.

IHLs will adopt tighter SMMs such as keeping in-person class and lecture sizes to no more than 50 persons and conducting other larger classes and lectures online. Polytechnic graduation ceremonies from 8 May will be converted to virtual ceremonies.

In tandem with the national roll-out, TraceTogether-only SafeEntry will be implemented in schools and educational institutions from 17 May. Students should have their TT token or app with them throughout the school day. Visitors and staff must check in using their TT token or app to be allowed entry into schools and institutions.

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