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Singapore

Students on quarantine or health risk warning may sit for PSLE, national year-end exams: MOE

SINGAPORE: Students who are on quarantine order or health risk warning may be allowed to sit for their national year-end examinations if they test negative for COVID-19, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) on Sunday (Sep 26).

In a joint press release, they said that the arrangements for students on quarantine - a departure from the previous year’s measures - were made in view of the rising COVID-19 cases.

A set of procedures has been approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH) for students who have been placed on quarantine but are otherwise well, to be allowed to apply for leave from quarantine to sit for their exams, said MOE and SEAB.

“While special consideration will be applied to cases with valid reasons, we recognise that there would still be instances where the candidate would still wish to have the opportunity to take their national year-end examination,” the press release said.

This option will be made available to all national examination candidates this year, starting from the PSLE examinations beginning on Sep 30 and the GCE N(A)/N(T), O-Level and A-Level examinations thereafter.

The candidates will have to test negative for their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) entry swab at the beginning of the quarantine order. They will also have to produce negative antigen rapid tests (ART) before each examination paper.

The arrangements exclude science practical examinations, where candidates may have to share lab equipment or move about the lab, and examinations with mask-off activities, such as music performing exams that require candidates to play wind instruments or sing.

Rooms used for candidates on quarantine will be thoroughly wiped down after the examinations. Candidates will also need to observe the following measures:

  • Take examinations in a separate classroom or hall from the rest of the school cohort
  • Be seated 3m apart in exam-style seating.
  • Avoid mingling with other candidates as designated entry and exit points and restrooms will be provided.
  • Examinations will start 30 minutes after the scheduled start time for the rest of the school cohort.
  • The reporting time and venue will be staggered for candidates on quarantine.

MOE said that they will provide details of the requirements to candidates “in due course”, including the application procedure and the expected timelines for processing such applications.

In August 2021, MOH and SEAB announced that students on a leave of absence may sit for the year-end exams if they regularly test negative for COVID-19. They said then that students on quarantine could not sit for the year-end exams.

Students who are COVID-19 positive or on stay-home notices will continue to not be allowed to sit for the exams.

Leave arrangements for PSLE candidates with an accompanying family member or caregiver

For PSLE candidates who have to be accompanied to the examination venue, a similar leave arrangement has been approved by the Health Ministry for an accompanying family member or caregiver, should they also be under quarantine.

Both the candidate and their accompanying family member must satisfy a rigorous testing requirement and follow the procedure as detailed below:

  • Have obtained a negative PCR test result at the beginning of their quarantine order.
  • Completed a self-swab ART at home and test negative within 24 hours of each examination paper.
  • Travel to the examination venue must be done by either private transport or on foot, and must be only between their place of residence and examination venue with no additional stops in between. Travel by public transport such as buses or MRT is not permitted.
  • Inform their schools that they intend to take the specific paper in order for the school to prepare the examination venue for them.
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ARRANGEMENTS FOR CANDIDATES ON HRW, APPROVED ABSENCE

MOE and SEAB added that they have updated arrangements for candidates who are on approved absence due to being placed on MOH's mandatory testing regime or health risk warning alert.

In addition to testing negative in their MOH-mandated entry PCR test, candidates must also perform self-swabs with ART kits at regular intervals and inform their schools of the outcome before their examination. This must be done until their approved absence is rescinded.

The remaining arrangements and prevailing safe management measures for the national year-end exams announced in August will continue to be in place, MOE and SEAB said.

Here is an updated summary of the arrangements for the 2021 national year-end exams written examinations beginning from Sep 30:

SPECIAL CONSIDERATION

In the release, MOE and SEAB said that students who miss the exams with valid reasons can apply for special consideration.

“Special consideration is a well-established procedure which awards candidates with projected grades through a fair and rigorous evidence-based methodology,” they said.

“In awarding a grade for these affected candidates, SEAB will consider multiple sources of data, such as the candidate’s performance in the other papers for that affected subject in national and school-based examinations as well as the school cohort's performance in national and school-based examinations, to ensure a fair assessment for all candidates.

“All special consideration applications are assessed on each case’s merit, to ensure that the grades awarded are as accurate and fair as possible.”

For candidates who miss all papers of a subject, their prelim results will be taken into consideration to determine their relative rank among their peers in the same school cohort.

This position will then be used to derive their grade.

For candidates who miss one or more papers in a subject, SEAB will use the candidate's performance in the papers they did take to derive a projected outcome for the subject. Their performance in the prelim examinations will also be taken into consideration.

School candidates may apply for special consideration through their schools, while private candidates may approach SEAB.

MOE and SEAB said that they will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and provide updates.

“We urge all candidates and staff to continue practising good personal hygiene, adhere to safe management measures, and exercise social responsibility. Students should stay away from school and seek medical attention if they are unwell.”

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Source: CNA/aj

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