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All in-person private tuition and enrichment for students aged 18 and below to be suspended: MOE

All in-person private tuition and enrichment for students aged 18 and below to be suspended: MOE

Children playing football at a primary school in Singapore. (File photo: FAS)

SINGAPORE: All in-person private tuition and enrichment - whether academic or non-academic - for younger students will be temporarily suspended from Wednesday (May 19), according to an updated advisory from the Ministry of Education (MOE).

The suspension applies to both organisations and individuals who offer lessons to students aged 18 and below.

This includes but is not limited to education and development support activities, arts and culture classes and workshops, religious classes, as well as sports and physical activity classes and programmes.

“The decision to suspend in-person classes is due to the higher risk of transmission of COVID-19 from the intermingling of students from different schools, and to avoid interactions between tutors and students,” said MOE on Tuesday.

READ: Primary, secondary schools and JCs to move to full home-based learning from May 19

From Wednesday until Jun 13, tuition and enrichment activities – including centre-based classes, home-based businesses and one-on-one classes – must either shift their lessons for students aged 18 and below online or suspend lessons altogether, said MOE.

The move comes after several primary school students tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, with most of the infections linked to tuition centres.

Singapore on Sunday announced that all primary and secondary schools, as well as junior colleges and Millennia Institute, would shift to full home-based learning from Wednesday until the end of the term on May 28.

All centre-based tuition and enrichment classes should also move activities online until the end of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), said Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing in a  COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference on Sunday.

Timeline: How a COVID-19 cluster emerged at Learning Point tuition centre

Certain organisations are exempted from the temporary suspension, such as MOE-registered Foreign System Kindergartens and institutions that provide full-time pre-tertiary education to students age 18 and below that leads to a qualification.

Student care centres may also continue to remain open.

Those providing learning interventions provided by therapists registered with the Allied Health Professions Council, or Early Intervention centres funded by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will also be allowed to keep their doors open, “subject to prevailing safe management measures”, MOE said.

These include strict safe distancing, health declarations, frequent disinfection of surfaces, staggering class timings and the wearing of masks.

Sport or physical activity classes for students aged 18 and younger may only continue outdoors, with a maximum of one instructor and one student at all times, MOE said.

Sport or physical activity classes involving more than one student are to be suspended.

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Classes catering exclusively to students older than 18 years old may continue in person, subject to prevailing safe management measures.

For centres that cater to both school-going children and adults, lessons for those aged 18 and younger should shift online or otherwise be suspended, while lessons for those above 18 years old can continue in person, said MOE. 

MOE will also introduce further restrictions on indoor gyms and fitness/dance/exercise studios for those aged above 18.

Gyms and studios with classes for such students may remain open only if they offer low intensity physical activities.

Participants and instructors must be masked at all times and no single room should hold more than 30 persons, including tutors/instructors, the ministry added.

Outdoor exercise classes may continue.

Voice training and speech and drama classes for students older than age 18 may also continue, although the same restrictions – masks on at all times and a capacity limit of 30 – will be in place.

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All in-person singing and wind/brass instrument classes are to be suspended until Jun 13, as this involves a higher risk of virus transmission due to voice projection or intentional expulsion of air, MOE said.

All indoor live performances scheduled to take place until Jun 13 are to be deferred/postponed to reduce the risk of transmission.

“Tuition and enrichment centres are responsible for ensuring that all safe management measures are implemented in their premises at all times. To ensure compliance, inspectors from MOE will be conducting inspections to check on the proper implementation of the safe management measures,” MOE said.

Under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, first-time offenders will face a fine of up to S$10,000, imprisonment of up to six months, or both. For subsequent offences, they may face a fine of up to S$20,000, imprisonment of up to twelve months, or both.

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Source: CNA/vc


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