SINGAPORE: The National University of Singapore (NUS) has suspended its student exchange programme for incoming students following a rise in cases of COVID-19 here and the emergence of variant strains globally.
"The safety and well-being of our students is of utmost priority to NUS. As the COVID-19 pandemic situation worldwide remains volatile with the emergence of more infectious variant strains of the virus, the University will suspend all student exchange programmes for Academic Year 2021/22 Semester 1," NUS said on Friday (May 21) in response to queries from CNA.
"This is in line with advisories from the authorities to avoid non-essential travel including short-term overseas educational exchanges."
NUS had earlier indicated on its website that the exchange programme for incoming students was not "officially" suspended.
A COVID-19 update on the site said: "Although the University has decided not to officially suspend exchange for AY2021/22 Semester 1 (Fall 2021), exchange students should be aware of the possible hurdles and additional expenses associated with an exchange for the upcoming term.
"The following section details the many steps required to continue with an exchange, to ensure students can make the best decision based on their own risk tolerance, academic requirements and financial situations."
However, the exchange programmes for outgoing students from NUS to other countries had been suspended.
The latest update on the site, dated May 18 said: "The COVID-19 situation still remains very fluid, with epicentres of the pandemic shifting around the world, and new variants of the virus emerging with ever-greater frequency.
"Despite vaccinations being rolled out to varying degrees of success in many countries, it appears the road to pre-pandemic levels of international travel will be much longer than expected."
An NUS spokesperson said on Friday that with the exception of a handful of countries such as those with which Singapore has set up unilateral border openings, NUS will suspend applications from inbound exchange students in light of the Immigrations and Checkpoints Authority’s tightened border control measures.
"Students entering Singapore will have to comply with the prevailing Stay Home Notice regime," the spokesperson added.
"For alternatives to in-person overseas exchange programmes, there is a suite of online summer programmes offered by NUS’ partner universities, e-STEERs (Study Trips for Engagement and Enrichment) and virtual joint immersion programmes that NUS students can participate in."
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