MOE: 14-day LOA for students and staff who travelled during holidays
Students and staff who return from overseas on or after March 14 to go on LOA
Schools and preschools will reopen next Monday as scheduled, despite a recent spike in coronavirus infections, mostly involving Singapore residents returning from abroad.
But all students and staff of pre-schools, schools and student care centres who returned from overseas on or after March 14 must go on a 14-day leave of absence (LOA).
The LOA is part of additional precautionary measures to protect the education system amid the Covid-19 crisis, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry for Social and Family Development said in a joint statement yesterday.
From 11.59pm today, all returning Singapore residents, long-term pass holders and foreign visitors will be served a 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN).
But the LOA will cover students and staff who returned on or after March 14, the start of the March school holidays.
Day zero of the 14-day isolation period will be their date of return to Singapore, the ministries said.
Students who have to stay away from school because of LOA, SHN or quarantine orders will be supported via home-based learning, they added.
There was speculation that schools might not reopen as planned in light of the Covid-19 situation.
But several measures have been introduced to ensure the safety of students and staff.
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post yesterday: "Our priority must be to protect the education system and keeping students safe.
"By protecting the system robustly, it can remain open, and lives need not be disrupted. Otherwise, many parents, including those working in hospitals and providing essential services, will not be able to go to work."
The ministries said that co-curricular activities (CCAs) will be suspended for two weeks, and the Singapore Youth Festival Arts Presentation will be deferred.
The National School Games will continue to be suspended until the end of the June holidays, despite some parents and students asking for it to be resumed.
Mr Ong said MOE has been watching the situation, "with some hope that we could resume some non-contact, small scale activities".
But he said this is now not possible, adding: "I know many students, parents and coaches will be disappointed.
"I hate to have to do this, but it is critical that we protect the system and keep everyone who has overseas exposure to the virus away from the school population."
Other precautionary measures include having a fixed exam-style seating for Primary 3 pupils and above, where they will sit further apart and in assigned seats.
Primary 1 and 2 pupils and MOE kindergarten children will have fixed group cluster seating.
Seating will also be assigned in canteens.
The Universities have also suspended some CCAs.
All CCAs and related events involving close contact at the National University of Singapore will be suspended until at least May 10.
The Nanyang Technological University said all face-to-face CCA group activities will be suspended till the end of July.
CCA coaches told The New Paper they would be affected by the two-week CCA suspension.
Mr Gerann Ngiam, a softball coach at Infiniti Sports, said his company teaches eight primary and secondary schools and will lose about $1,500 during the suspension.