School sports: Older student-athletes could be first to resume contact sports in NSG

In May, the Ministry of Education suspended the NSG before axing the competition completely a month later for a second consecutive year.
In May, the Ministry of Education suspended the NSG before axing the competition completely a month later for a second consecutive year.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Older student-athletes from junior colleges, Millenia Institute and secondary schools are likely to be among the first to be able to resume competition in contact sports such as football and basketball at the National School Games (NSG) as "most of them would have been vaccinated", Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Monday (July 5).

He shared this in a written reply to Sharael Taha, the MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC, who had submitted a parliamentary question about the framework in place to bring back the NSG for sports such as football, hockey, netball and floorball in a safe and lower-risk environment.

In May, the Ministry of Education suspended the NSG - which was slated to feature just 12 of the annual competition's 29 sports - following a spike in community cases of Covid-19, before axing the competition completely a month later for a second consecutive year.

Mr Chan said that the MOE takes a calibrated approach to the resumption of the NSG to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff. Aside from safe management measures, it also considers factors such as type of sports, the age and number of student participants, type of venue, as well as the level of intermingling between students from different schools.

"A phased resumption of the NSG would typically start with low risk non-contact sports such as badminton, table tennis, tennis and volleyball before higher-risk contact sports such as basketball, football, hockey and rugby are considered," he added.

"These sports involve high bodily contact between student participants and therefore, carry a greater risk. Furthermore, resumption of contact sports is likely to start with older students from junior colleges/Millenia Institute and secondary schools, as most of them would have been vaccinated."

Mr Chan added that the MOE will continue to monitor the public health situation closely and work towards the safe resumption of NSG in 2022.

While the NSG has been axed, MOE has previously said that it intends to gradually resume in-person co-curricular activities from the second week of Term 3, starting with "low-risk activities".