COVID-19: Special arrangements made to ensure student safety for national exams

Ministry of Education logo seen at the MOE's headquarters at 1 North Buona Vista Drive.
Ministry of Education logo seen at the MOE's headquarters at 1 North Buona Vista Drive.

SINGAPORE — Special arrangements will be made for students for the national year-end written examinations to ensure their safety amid the ongoing pandemic, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) on Friday (21 August).

In a joint statement, they added that safe management measures will continue to be implemented in schools and exam venues.

The year-end written exams for the PSLE, GCE N, GCE O and GCE A levels will begin on 14 September and end by 2 December.

“As the national year-end written examinations are important milestones that affect students’ progression, we will make sure as many students as possible are given the opportunity to take the examinations, as long as it can be made safe for their schoolmates and invigilators,” said MOE and SEAB.

Students who miss the national exams due to valid reasons can apply for special consideration, they added. “In awarding a grade for these affected candidates, SEAB will consider evidences of these candidates’ performance from multiple sources, such as the candidate’s performance in the other papers for that affected subject in the national and school-based examinations, as well as the school cohort's performance in the national and school-based examinations. All special consideration applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis and subjected to a rigorous review process.”

COVID-19 positive students won’t take exams

Students who are COVID-19 positive or on quarantine orders or stay-home notices (SHN) will not be allowed to sit for the exams to ensure they do not pose a risk to others.

But exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis for those on SHNs to take their exams under special arrangements if they had travelled out of Singapore for compassionate reasons such as to attend a funeral or visit a critically ill relative.

Meanwhile, students put on Leave of Absence (LOA) due to contacts with confirmed cases will also not be allowed to sit for their exams. But those who are on LOA because they share the same household with those under quarantine will be allowed to sit for the exams if they test negative for COVID-19. MOE and SEAB said arrangements will be made for these candidates to be tested.

Similarly, students on medical leave due to acute respiratory infection (ARI) can take their exams only if they test negative for COVID-19.

And those on Approved Absence (AA) because they stay with others having flu-like symptoms can also take the exams. Currently, students can be placed on AA for the duration of the unwell household member’s medical leave or until the person is told of a negative COVID-19 test result.

Safe management measures

The safe management measures that will be implemented in schools and exam venues include temperature taking and seating distances of 1.5m between candidates.

There will also be designated toilets and staggered toilet breaks for groups of students to avoid congregation and intermingling between groups.

Similarly, dismissal timings will be staggered and there will be segregated entry and exit routes for candidates.

Students on LOA who are allowed to take their exams and those who are on AA will sit in a separate room from other candidates in their schools. They will be seated at least 3m apart, with a cap of 10 candidates per exam room.

“Precautionary measures will also be taken to ensure that these candidates do not mingle with the other candidates, including designated toilets, separate entry and exit routes for each examination room with deconflicted arrival and departure timings,” said MOE and SEAB.

Meanwhile, those on SHN allowed to sit for their exams will do so in a centralised SEAB venue. They will be seated individually in a room and not be allowed to mingle with other candidates.

“To further minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19, candidates must take their own private vehicles or pre-booked taxis to the examination venue as they are not allowed to take public transport. Invigilators will also be provided with Personal Protective Equipment as a safety precaution and will invigilate from outside of the examination room to minimise contact with candidates,” said MOE and SEAB.

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