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S'pore unis move classes online to reduce spread of Covid-19 as cases continue to rise

SINGAPORE – Three local universities have moved to reduce the number of in-person classes amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in Singapore.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) said online lessons are encouraged, while face-to-face classes will continue within national safe management guidelines, while Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has sent out a circular to notify its students that classes would mostly shift online from Monday (Sept 27) until Oct 22.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) said that from Thursday, lectures, seminars and tutorials would be conducted online, with students returning only for practical and laboratory lessons.

At the Singapore Management University (SMU) and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS), classes had already been mostly held online before the current spike in cases.

On Sept 9, SMU sent out a circular saying that all undergraduate classes would be online until Oct 10.

SUSS told ST: “For the remaining physical classes which cannot be shifted online, we will adhere to the national safe management measure guidelines and consider postponing them, if further tightening takes place.”

The Singapore University of Technology and Design told ST that lessons for first-year students will continue to be in-person, while the rest of its lessons will move online.

This comes after the Ministry of Education announced on Sept 18 that all Primary 1 to Primary 5 pupils would be placed on home-based learning from Sept 27 until Oct 6 – the end of the ongoing Primary School Leaving Examination – amid a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The universities added that other Covid-19 measures such as the reduction in group sizes from five people to two would be in place on their campuses.

Last Friday, the multi-ministry taskforce tackling Covid-19 in Singapore said social gathering sizes would be reduced from five people to two from Monday till Oct 25 to stop the surge in infections from overwhelming the healthcare system.

SIT added that all student development programmes, physical training and activities on campus will be held online until Oct 24, while the NTU circular said all co-curricular activities must comply with national guidelines.

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