Schools to have fixed seating with 1m spacing for recess; tuition centres urged to move lessons online

Group sizes across all activities will be reduced from five to two persons, with safe management measures in place. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Safe management measures across educational institutions will be tightened, in line with tighter measures being taken islandwide from Sunday to June 13, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said.

In a statement on Friday night (May 14), MOE said that all students and staff must wear face masks, and not face shields, when in school and on campus, unless they are unable to due to special needs or medical conditions. Face shields should not be used as a substitute for masks, except for medical exceptions or when the child is aged 12 or younger.

Classes will also be done in cohorts, and lectures capped at a maximum of 50 persons.

Group sizes across all activities will be reduced from five to two persons, with safe management measures in place.

In addition, centre-based classes, will be conducted online, such as those held at at language centres and elective programme centres.

All Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) will be reformatted and conducted online, while external CCAs will remain suspended during the month.

In person events will also be suspended. All large-scale events will continue to be cancelled or postponed, or held virtually, if possible.

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 safe management measures.

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.

As for IHLs, all 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 safe management measures, given that students and staff are on campuses for a longer period of time, said the ministry.

Examinations will be reformatted and conducted in classrooms with a maximum class size of 50 persons.

Where possible, IHLs will conduct examinations online, while internships and work attachments will continue, with students adhering to the prevailing measures at the organisations they are attached with.

Meanwhile, Private Education Institutions (PEIs) offering pre-tertiary and tertiary courses must follow the tightened national safe management measures, said MOE.

They 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.

MOE added that while private tuition and enrichment centres may continue operating, they should 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 measures, such as stepping up screening for staff and students, so that those who are unwell do not attend lessons, it stressed.

A Covid-19 cluster involving such a centre has surfaced.

The Health Ministry announced on Friday night that five primary school pupils tested positive for Covid-19 after attending classes run by an infected tuition teacher at Learning Point, an enrichment centre in Parkway Centre.

All instructors, staff and students must wear masks, while 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, or preferably two metres, from other groups, with no mixing between groups, said MOE.

It added that in-person singing and wind instrument classes will be suspended.

The ministry said it will continue to monitor the situation closely, and work with schools and IHLs to implement additional safe management measures 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 safe management measures," it said.

"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."

READ NEXT: What are the new Covid-19 rules in S'pore from May 16?

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.