Over the last two days, several tuition centres in Singapore have had students and staff testing positive for Covid-19. Some of them will be moving their classes online.
Private tuition and enrichment centres are allowed to continue operations under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) from May 16, but are "strongly encouraged to move lessons online during this period of heightened risk", said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a May 15 press release.
Tuition centres moving classes online
Learning Point tuition centre
Case 63131, a 50-year-old private tutor at Learning Point tuition centre, was confirmed to have Covid-19 on May 12, and reported as an unlinked case on May 13.
Then five of the new cases on May 14 — all between the ages of seven and nine — were reported to be linked to the tutor. All of them had attended classes conducted by Case 63131 at the Parkway Centre branch.
As the teacher had also conducted class at Century Square on May 7, both affected outlets were shut down and MOH-approved professional cleaning was carried out, Learning Point said in a statement posted on its website.
Four of its other centres were not affected, said Learning Point.
However, all classes would be conducted online till May 31, Learning Point said, due to increasing community cases and "the government call to stay at home".
The Learning Lab
Meanwhile, The Learning Lab told Mothership in a statement that it would be conducting lessons online till June 15, after being informed that two siblings — who had attended lessons on Friday and Saturday at its centre in United Square — had tested positive for Covid-19.
The family of the students had been advised by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to get tested as they were contacts of an earlier confirmed case from their school.
Once The Learning Lab was informed of their positive results, it immediately moved all classes all its centres online.
It had initially planned to move classes online from May 16, in line with tightened measures taking effect.
The Learning Lab will also be conducting deep cleaning and sanitation of all its centres' classrooms over the weekend, it said.
Wang Learning Centre
Wang Learning Centre told Mothership that a student who attended a class at Learning Point on May 8 had also attended a lesson at Wang Learning Centre on May 9.
The student subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 on May 13.
A spokesperson from the tuition centre also shared that there was a full professional disinfection that was already originally scheduled on May 10.
The spokesperson added that the tuition centre will be moving classes online from May 16 till further notice, "to safeguard the well-beings of our students and staff."
HCL, a Chinese-language tuition centre, informed parents in a circular on May 15 that one of its students at its outlet in Katong V had tested positive for Covid-19 on the evening of May 14, reported The Straits Times (ST).
HCL has suspended physical lessons across all 12 of its tuition centres in Singapore, and lessons will be taken online until further notice.
The tuition centre added that the student's teacher had not taught at other branches, and those who have been in close contact with the student have been contacted by MOH to be placed on quarantine, according to ST.
Other tuition centres with Covid-19 cases
In MOH's May 15 update, three students who attended EduFirst Learning Centre in Hougang have been confirmed as Covid-19 cases.
The students are aged between 6 and 7.
Tuition centres encouraged to consider online lessons as default
Face-to-face tuition and enrichment classes are still allowed to continue subject to safe management measures.
However, MOE encouraged the centres to consider online lessons as the default arrangement in Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), in order to reduce physical contact between individuals.
If in-person tuition lessons are to be held at private residences, the tutor and student(s) should be masked at all times, MOE advised on the ministry's website.
In the event that in-person classes proceed, safe distancing measures must be put in place, with strictly no physical interaction between students.
Classes which involve activities with potentially higher risk of virus transmission through droplet spread (such as singing, playing of wind or brass instruments or other instruments that require intentional expulsion of air) must be suspended during this period.
Voice training and speech and drama classes may continue, subject to additional safe management measures.
Top image via Google Maps, The Learning Lab website