SINGAPORE: More programmes are set to resume in schools from mid-October, as Singapore improves its capabilities to detect and trace COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced on Wednesday (Oct 7).
Programmes that can resume include co-curricular activities (CCAs) at external venues such as bowling and swimming, activities organised by the headquarters of uniformed groups, inter-school CCA collaborations and the Singapore National Youth Orchestra.
However, CCAs and activities such as singing and those involving high level of body contact such as rugby remain suspended.
"We now have improved national capabilities to detect and trace cases, and also have effective safe management measures in our schools. Hence, MOE will be carefully resuming more programmes across the different levels in our schools," the ministry said.
Most CCAs and school activities will resume from the middle of October, after the year-end examinations, with the following rules in place:
- The overall group cap will be increased from 20 to 50 people (inclusive of students and adults supporting them), except for higher-risk activities which remain suspended or limited to a smaller group cap.
- Students are to maintain a safe distance of at least 1m between them, while activities that involve more physical exertion would mean there should be a safe distance of at least 2m between students.
- Where 1m safe distancing cannot be observed, students should be organised into groups of five with 1m between groups. For more physically-demanding activities where the students are unmasked, there should be a minimum of 3m between groups.
- Students should remain within their fixed groupings when taking part in activities which involve inter-mingling among different schools.
- High-touch points and common facilities will be wiped down at the end of each activity or change in groups.
- Schools will continue to screen all visitors, including coaches and instructors, for flu-like symptoms such as fever and cough, and ensure that they comply with all the measures.
Singapore underwent eight weeks of a "circuit breaker" between Apr 7 and Jun 1 in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Schools reopened on Jun 2 in phases.
Since then, secondary schools, junior colleges and Milennia Institute gradually resumed selected CCAs and other activities from Jul 27, while primary schools were given the option to bring back such activities from Sep 14.
MOE said it would continue to monitor the situation closely as further aspects of school life resume.
"We urge all students and staff to continue practising good personal hygiene, exercise social responsibility and abide by safe management measures, whether in or outside school," the ministry said.