With COVID-19 ‘here to stay’ at least till the end of the year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) got you covered. Students do not need to worry about how they’re going to take their examinations as special arrangements, considerations and safe management measures will be put in place to ensure a smooth process throughout. We’ll go through some of the key initiatives and changes for the year of 2020!
The first thing to take note of this year would be special arrangements made for candidates who have COVID-19, or those on Quarantine Order, Stay-Home Notice, Leave of Absence, Medical Leave with Acute Respiratory Infection and candidates on Approved Absence. The procedures are slightly different for respective candidates.
For the students who are tested positive for COVID-19 or are under Quarantine Order (QO) or Stay-Home Notice (SHN), they will not be allowed to sit for the national examinations. This aims to reduce the further spread of COVID-19. However, exceptions might be made on a case-by-case basis for students on SHN who travelled out of Singapore for personal and important reasons. They might be able to sit for the examinations under special arrangements.
As for students who are on Leave of Absence (LOA), if they were in close proximity with confirmed COVID-19 patients, they will not be allowed to sit for the examinations. If they are in the same household with individuals who need to serve Home Quarantine Order (HQO), they will be allowed to take the examinations if and only if they are tested negative for COVID-19. Similarly, candidates who are on medical leave due to acute respiratory infection (ARI) will only be allowed to take the examinations if and only if they are tested negative for COVID-19. And for candidates on Approved Absence (AA) due to being in the same household with adults with flu-like symptoms, they will still be allowed to sit for the examinations but with enhanced safe management measures as a preventive measure.
Hence, you might be wondering what will happen to your grade if you were not allowed to take the national examination due to one of the above circumstances. Well, fret not! Candidates who miss the national examinations can apply for special consideration if their reasons are valid. The awarding of grade will be considered responsibly by SEAB. They will take into consideration multiple factors of the student’s overall performance – from their performance in other papers, the school cohort’s performance and more. However, do note that each case will be considered differently and the sole decision will still be made by SEAB.
For the bulk of students still taking the national examinations, it is without doubt that there will be safe management measures implemented at the examination venue itself to ensure not only a conducive but safe environment for taking the examination. There will be temperature taking and visual screening of all students during and before the examination. Not only that, all students will have to wear their face masks when at the examination venue. However, they will have an option to replace their face masks with their face shields when the examination has begun.
Students will also be seated at least 1.5 metres apart from one another and there will only be a maximum of 30 students in each classroom, maximum of 50 candidates in each zone (3 metres apart between zones) in larger venues where there will be up to 250 students. Ideally, students will be designated certain toilets they can to, and staggered toilet break timings to reduce on congregation and mingling with other groups of students. This also means that dismissal timings will be staggered.
For students who are on LOA or AA or medical leave but have tested negative for COVID-19, they will be allowed to take their examinations in school but in a separate room from all the other candidates. They will be seated at least 3 metres apart with a maximum of only 10 of them in one room. This ensures the safety of everyone. For students placed on SHN but given the approval to sit for their examinations, they will be seated individually in a room and the rooms would be wiped thoroughly after each paper. These students will also have to take private transport as citizens on SHN are not allowed to take public transport.
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