Tuition, enrichment classes in S'pore must move online till June 13 amid Covid-19 spike

This will prevent intermingling of students from different schools. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - All centre-based tuition and enrichment classes must move activities online till the end of Phase 2 (heightened alert) on June 13, or until further notice is given, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing announced on Sunday (May 16).

This will prevent intermingling of students from different schools, and cut down possible transmissions among this group, he said.

If centres are unable to move classes online, they will need to suspend them, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Sunday.

Institutes of higher learning - autonomous universities, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education - will also reduce attendance on campus, by moving more classes online where possible, said Mr Chan. But this does not include essential sessions that need to be conducted in person, such as labs, practicals and final year projects, the MOE added.

Speaking at a virtual press conference, Mr Chan noted that his ministry is concerned about the recent spate of Covid-19 cases that have occurred during interactions and activities that took place outside of schools, including two pupils from St Andrew's Junior who tested positive for Covid-19 after taking the same school bus as an infected student.

This is why enrichment centres and tuition centres are being asked to move classes online, he said.

"We have tried our very best to make sure that we keep the cohorts within each of the schools tight, and that is how we have been relatively successful in preventing rogue transmissions within the schools. But... there is always the risk of transmission in outside- school activities," said the minister.

Going forward, the authorities must also work on the assumption that there will be cases that would emerge in schools now and then, he added.

"Although thus far, we have no conclusive evidence of school-based transmission, we must never be complacent," he said.

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The move to shift tuition and enrichment classes online comes after the emergence of several cases linked to tuition centres in the past few days.

Tuition centres which had students that tested positive for Covid-19 include The Learning Lab tuition centre in United Square, the HCL Education Centre at Katong V as well as enrichment centre Learning Point in Parkway Centre.

Several tuition centres have already begun moving their classes online or bringing forward their term break since last week.

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