Press Releases

Updates To Precautionary Measures For Schools and Institutes of Higher Learning

10 October 2021

1. In line with the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) updates to the national COVID-19 testing and isolation protocols, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will be updating the precautionary measures currently implemented in primary and secondary schools, Special Education (SPED) schools, junior colleges (JCs)/ Millennia Institute (MI), as well as Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). MOE and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) will also update the arrangements for the upcoming GCE-level national examinations.

Updates to Precautionary Measures

2. From 11 October 2021, MOH will issue 7-day Health Risk Warning to students in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, in line with Protocol 3 of the 1-2-3 protocols1. Such students can return to school during the 7 days if they continue to be well and have a negative Antigen Rapid Test (ART) result before they leave for school daily. MOE will no longer issue Leave of Absence (LOA) and Approved Absence (AA) for primary schools, secondary schools (including SPED schools), JCs / MI. This means students and staff currently under existing Quarantine Orders, LOA or AA can return to school for lessons as long as they are well and have a negative ART test result on the day they go to school. IHLs will similarly take alignment with MOH’s revised protocols. This is in line with the national approach to living with COVID-19.

3. An overview of the updated categories of precautionary measures in schools and IHLs, is in Table 1.

Category Arrangements
Confirmed Case Not allowed to attend school / campus until the end of Isolation Order.
Stay-Home Notice (SHN) Not allowed to return to school / campus until the end of SHN
Health Risk Warning (HRW) Follow national Protocol 3 and allowed to return to school / campus after the first negative ART self-test, and negative ART results daily for the next 7 days, prior to leaving home

Table 1: Overview of the updated categories of precautionary measures.

Updates to arrangements for GCE-Level National Examinations

4. The national examinations are important milestones in a student’s educational journey, and MOE and SEAB recognise candidates’ preference to have the opportunity to take their national year-end examination where possible. With the latest updates to the national COVID-19 isolation and testing protocols, MOE and SEAB will update the examination arrangements for candidates taking their upcoming GCE- Level national year-end examinations, starting from 11 October.

Candidates issued MOH’s Health Risk Warning

5. Candidates on HRW who are well will be allowed to sit for their national year- end examinations, including the science practical examinations, and can take public transport to and from their examination venue. They should meet the following requirements:

  1. Inform schools of their intent to sit for their examinations;
  2. Ensure that they meet MOH’s test protocol requirements, i.e.:
    1. Testing negative for ART on the first day;
    2. Testing negative for ART on the day of their examinations, before leaving their home;
  3. Show a photo of their ART kits with negative test result2 to the invigilators.

6. Strict Safe Management Measures (SMMs) will be in place at the examination venues for candidates on HRW. These include:

  • Being seated in separate rooms, venues or laboratory from other candidates; and
  • 3m spacing exam-style seating for the written examinations.

Candidates on Medical Leave

7. Candidates who are on medical leave will be allowed to sit for the national year- end examinations if they have fully recovered3. On the day of examination, they must take a self-swab ART at home and show a photograph of their ART kits with negative result to the invigilators on arrival.

Arrangements for Candidates on Quarantine Order (QO)

8. The remaining arrangements as well as prevailing SMMs implemented for the national examinations that were earlier announced4 will continue to be in place. An updated summary of the arrangements, taking effect from 11 October, is in Table 2.

Category Examination Arrangements
Confirmed case of COVID-19 infection5 Not allowed to sit for examinations.
Allowed if ART self-swab before leaving home is negative; show a photo of their ART kits with negative test result to the invigilators7.
Allowed if fully recovered and is visibly well, and ART self-swab before leaving home is negative; show a photo of their ART kits with negative test result to the invigilators8.

Table 2: Summary of arrangements for the 2021 national year-end written and science practical examinations, taking effect from 11 October.

Special Consideration

9. Similar to previous years, candidates who miss any national examination paper(s) with valid reasons (including COVID-19 related, medical leave or compassionate reasons) can apply for special consideration9. Special consideration is a well-established procedure which awards candidates with projected grades through a fair and rigorous evidence-based methodology. In awarding a grade for these affected candidates, SEAB considers multiple sources of data, such as the candidate’s performance in the other papers for that affected subject in national and school-based examinations as well as the school cohort's performance in national and school-based examinations, to ensure a fair assessment for all candidates. All special consideration applications are assessed on each case’s merit, to ensure that the grades awarded are as accurate and fair as possible.

10. Schools will continue to maintain tight screening using temperature-taking, observation and screening questions at the start of the school day to keep school safe for all. MOE and SEAB will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and implement additional measures to keep our school environment safe, where necessary. We urge all students and staff to continue practising good personal hygiene, adhere to SMMs, and exercise social responsibility.

1 For more information on the 1-2-3 protocols, please refer to Annex C in MOH’s press release on 9 October:
2 Candidates must place their ID next to the ART kit in the photograph.
3 If the candidate is symptomatic and has been prescribed a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test by a healthcare professional to assess for COVID-19 infection, he should continue to self-isolate till his PCR results are out and is negative.
4 Please refer to
5 Candidates on Home Recovery can sit for their examinations after they have been discharged.
6 Similar to last year, candidates who have travelled overseas to attend a funeral or visit a critically ill next-of-kin, can sit for the written examinations under special arrangements. They will take the examinations in schools. They must take their own private vehicles or pre-book taxis to the exam venue as they are not allowed to take public transport.
7 Candidates must place their ID next to the ART kit in the photograph.
8 Candidates must place their ID next to the ART kit in the photograph.
9 School candidates may apply for special consideration through their schools. Private candidates may approach SEAB.