Classes at private and home-based tuition and enrichment centres suspended

The decision is due to the higher risk of transmission of Covid-19 from students of different schools mingling. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - Following the suspension of in-person teaching at private tuition and enrichment centres for students aged 18 and under, home-based providers learnt on Tuesday (May 18) that they too will have to move these classes online.

To last from Wednesday till June 13, the moratorium on face-to-face classes applies to education and development support activities, arts and culture classes and workshops, religious classes, as well as sports and physical activity classes and programmes.

The decision is due to the higher risk of transmission of Covid-19 from students of different schools mingling, and to avoid interactions between tutors and students, said the Ministry of Education in a statement.

It comes after the ministry announced on Sunday that all centre-based tuition and enrichment classes have to move activities online till June 13 or further notice, to reduce interaction between students from different schools.

All schools are also set to start full home-based learning (HBL) from Wednesday until May 28 when the school term ends, amid a sharp spike in Covid-19 cases in the community.

Selected organisations and individuals are exempt from the suspension, including MOE-registered foreign system kindergartens; private education institutions registered with the Committee for Private Education and privately funded schools such as Anglo-Chinese School (International), Hwa Chong International School, St Joseph's Institution International (High School); as well as those providing learning interventions by therapists registered with the Allied Health Professions Council, or early intervention centres funded by the Early Childhood Development Agency.

Such centres are required to abide by safe distancing measures, health declarations and the mandatory wearing of masks at all times. They should also allow for 15 minutes between classes so that classroom surfaces can be disinfected, and to avoid congestion inside or outside the centres.

Outdoor one-on-one sports and physical activity classes may also continue, even for those aged 18 and younger, but with a maximum of one instructor and one student at all times.

Masks can be taken off for strenuous activities but have to be put on immediately after the end of the activity, the ministry said.

However, all indoor and outdoor physical activities and sports classes involving more than one student; as well as singing and wind or brass instrument classes will be suspended till June 13.

Indoor dance classes as well as voice training and speech and drama classes for students older than age 18 can continue under additional safe management measures such as wearing masks at all times, and class sizes not exceeding 30 people, including tutors and instructors.

Working from home is now the default arrangement for tuition and enrichment centres. Employees who need to return to the workplace must abide by all prevailing safe management measures such as the use of SafeEntry for contact tracing and the wearing of masks at all times and regular cleaning of common facilities and high-touch areas.

MOE said it will conduct inspections at tuition and enrichment centres.

Under the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, first-time offenders will face a fine of up to $10,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both. For subsequent offences, they may face a fine of up to $20,000, imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both.

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