The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced the suspension of in-person private tuition amid the rising coronavirus cases on the island.
All tuition and enrichment centres are now shut for students aged 18 and younger, under phase Phase Two (Heightened Alert). This, from May 19 to June 13, 2021.
Suspension Of In-Person Private Tuition
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Under the new rules, all organisations and individuals offering tuitions and enrichments activities will shift their lessons online or suspend during the period from May 19 to June 13, 2021 (both the dates are inclusive).
This includes all education, arts and culture classes, development support activities, and workshops, religious classes, as well as sports classes.
The decision was taken keeping in mind the high risk of transmission of coronavirus from the intermingling of students from different schools and to avoid interaction between teachers and students.
This was also in line with the school’s move to shift to Home-Based Learning during this phase.
Exemptions Under These Circumstances
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The following institutions are allowed to continue on-premise, provided they adhered to the safety measures.
- MOE-registered Foreign System Kindergartens
- Organisations that provide full-time pre-tertiary education to students aged 18 and below that leads to a qualification, i.e. Private Education Institutions (PEIs). But, MOE still encouraged these organisations to shift their lessons online.
- Organisations and individuals who provide consultation and assessment services to students aged 7 to 18 years with special educational needs or disabilities provided by therapists regulated by the Allied Health Professions Council.
- This also includes organisations and individuals who provided outdoor one-on-one (one coach to one student/trainee) sport or physical activity classes and programmes.
- The Early Childhood Development Centres licensed by ECDA, and student care centres are also allowed to continue to provide care to kids, provided they followed all the prevailing safe management measures.
- Classes that catered exclusively to students who were older than 18 years could continue in person. In a press release shared by MOE, they mention that for both school-going kids and adults, the lessons should shift online or be suspended.
- On the other hand, centres providing lessons for 18 years and above are allowed to continue in person.
- Also as per the guidelines, centres that provided lessons to students older than 18 years are not required to apply for a business exemption.
Work From Home Option For Workforce Allowed
MOE mentioned that keeping in mind the suspension of in-person private tuition classes, enrichment centres should ensure that work from home to be the default arrangement for employees who are able to manage.
Also, those returning to the workplace, for instance, those handling critical IT functions, had to adhere to all the safety precautions.
These included the use of SafeEntry, wearing of masks all the time, health checks and regular cleaning of high-touch areas.
Institutions To Comply With On-Premise Safety Precautions
Centres that were allowed to continue with the on-premise classes have to adhere to the following safety measures in the classrooms and other areas accessed by the students.
- The centre has to ensure a safe distance between students by putting up appropriate floor demarcations. There is also strict separation between the students of different classes to avoid the risk of their intermingling.
- To ensure further safety, centres also have to see that students maintain a safe distance of at least 1m at all times.
- However, if the 1m distance was not possible, then the centre has to organise students into groups of no more than two students. Also, ensure that there is no physical interaction between the two groups.
- They’re allowed to move between pairs.
- MOE also mentioned that they needed to be at the front of their class as much as it is possible.
- As per the rules, no single room within a centre was allowed to hold more than 50 persons.
- This included tutors/instructors, even though all the safety measures were adopted.
- The Centres aren’t allowed to permit those students who were placed on Leave of Absence (LOA) by their schools or on a Stay Home Notice (SHN), or Home Quarantine Order (HQO).
- They’ve been asked to watch out for any COVID-19 symptoms.
Cleaning of all surfaces:
- As part of the MOE guidelines, all the surfaces in the classrooms had to be thoroughly disinfected between the classes.
- Plus, tutors and students are to avoid sharing equipment like microphones or music scores.
Mask to be worn always:
- Instructors are expected to wear a surgical mask at all times.
- Also, masks, are now made a default option for everyone, except for those who were using face shields. For instance, people with health conditions and those having difficulty in breathing from wearing a mask for a prolonged period.
- All the centres have to see that the rooms where the classes were being held were well ventilated.
- In MOE’s order, Centres have also been asked to allocate at least 15 minutes between classes. This was given to allow adequate time to disinfect classroom surfaces. And, to ensure strict separation of individuals from different classes.
- All sport and physical activity classes for students aged 18 and younger allowed to continue only outdoors.
- One instructor and only one student allowed at all times.
- If the task is strenuous, students allowed to take off the mask, but they have to put it on immediately at the end of the activity.
- Indoor gyms and fitness, dance centres closed in the above mentioned period, unless they offered low-intensity sport and exercise activities to students older than 18 years.
Dance and drama classes
- Centres providing indoor dance classes for students older than 18 years allowed provided they follow all the additional safe management measures.
- Voice training and speech and drama classes for students older than age 18 permitted, but with safety measures in place.
- The home-based tuition classes that cater only to students older than age 18 allowed. But, they have to follow all the home ventilation measures, including opening doors and windows, and use fans to promote air circulation.
- All the centres to follow TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (TT-only SafeEntry) option at all venues that experienced higher visitors. Students who forgot to carry their TraceTogether token to download the TT app on their phones before being allowed inside the premises.
As Singapore tries to limp back to normalcy, it is important that we follow all the COVID-19 precautions to a tee. Mask up, sanitise your hands and get vaccinated. Remember, it is not the time to let our guards down!
News source: MOE
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