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MOE and MSF: Mandatory leave of absence for pre-school and primary students who live with returning overseas travellers

The new measures, have been added on top of the already-enforced 14-day leave of absence order for students and school employees returning from travel on or after March 14

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SINGAPORE—On Tuesday (Mar 24), authorities have announced that all pre-school and primary school students will be placed on a mandatory 14-day leave of absence if they live  in the same household as persons who return from overseas travel beginning Thursday (Mar 26).

The Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) released a joint statement introducing the new measures, which have been added on top of the already-enforced 14-day leave of absence order for students and school employees returning from travel on or after Mar 14.

All primary and pre-school students who share a home with persons who have travelled to the UK, US or any ASEAN countries and returned to Singapore on or after Mar 14 must also be placed on a two-week leave of absence.

The ministries set the leave of absence start date to begin on the day the traveller in the household arrived back in Singapore.

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In order to accommodate coming leaves of absence and these “exceptional circumstances”, MOE and MSF have urged business owners and employers to come up with flexible work and work-from-home arrangements for their workers.

The ministries assured the public that they will be providing support to affected individuals and establishments, to ensure the safety of everyone.

“MOE and MSF will continue to monitor the situation closely, and work with schools, preschools, student care centres, parents and the community to ensure that our schools, preschools and student care centres remain safe,” announced the ministries.

Students and school staff members who live with people on leave of absence or stay-home notices should monitor their health, consult with a doctor should they feel ill or at the first sign of symptoms, and to return to school only when fully recovered and cleared.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung has assured the public that many “significant additional precautionary measures” have been laid out and are being enforced, for the safety of all persons involved and for the system to keep running smoothly.

Meanwhile, a petition to close all local schools in Singapore has been launched online on change.org, echoing some parents’ concerns over their children’s health and safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. /TISG

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