We received a few enquires on the implementation of Provost’s circular on the suspension of close contact CCAs.
There are some replies from the Vice Dean of Students, Associate Professor Adeline Seow, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and Sean Tan, Head, Student Organisations, OSA.
Question: “What are the type of CCAs that are allowed to continue?”
Answer: CCAs that are being highlighted in this circular are those that involve participants being in close proximity with one another in situations that increase the likelihood of exposure to respiratory droplets from the nose (or mouth) of their fellow participants. Examples are contact sports if teams train together or dance groups practising certain routines.
CCAs that do not involve close contact of this nature can continue. CCAs which would normally involve close contact, but which can be modified to provide for reasonable separation between participants (2 m as a guide) are also allowed to continue. For example:
1. A normal basketball training can be converted to a physical fitness or skills-based training without close contact. Participants can also be spread out across the court.
2. A dance practice can be modified to take place in a larger venue with the participants more spread out, and routines reviewed.
Activities such as playing of board games can carry on if participants take steps to reduce proximity and close contact wherever feasible.
Current protocols for monitoring temperature and symptoms must be observed. Participants are reminded that they should monitor their temperature daily and not to participate if they are unwell.
Question: “Why aren’t all CCAs suspended?”
Answer: The University understands that it is disruptive to suspend all CCAs, and is taking a calibrated approach to this. The policy will be reviewed after 3.5 weeks, and will also be responsive to the changing outbreak situation.
Question: “How enforceable is the 2-metre distancing rule?
Answer: The 2m rule serves as a guide for CCAs to plan for and modify their activities for this period. This is to be taken in the context of activities which are high exertion and prolonged. We recognise that in normal social and classroom settings, this is neither necessary at this point, nor enforceable. We trust that students as well as their staff advisors will rely on a clear understanding of the principles and use their judgement to minimise close contact in the appropriate situations.
Question: “Will students and Student Organisations be given interim support by the school in the event that they have to pull-out of or cancel their activity?”
Answer: Yes, the University will look to assisting students and Student Organisation financially should they incur costs if their activity is affected by the suspension. Students and Student Organisation should seek assistance from their staff advisor and/or OSA should there be a need.
Question: “Are we able to make exceptions to the current blanket policy?”
Answer: This policy applies to all CCAs that involve close contact. However, we are exploring transitional arrangements for particular events that are not able to adjust in time.
Question: “Are CCAs and activities in Residential Colleges and Halls required to follow the guidelines set forth in the circular?”
Answer: Yes, the circular applies to all student organisations. Masters and Resident Fellows are best placed to work with student groups to apply these guidelines.
Question: “Are there measure that NUS will take to enforce the suspension?”
Answer: Staff Advisors are to work alongside Student Organisations to ensure that activities that require close contact are suspended or modified. We urge the University Community to be responsible and continue with the fight to contain the spread of COVID-19.
Question: “If there are events held by our external vendors and student groups are invited to go down to participate, would that be considered acceptable?
Answer: The nature of the activity will determine if students can participate. If the activity is sporting in nature and requires close contact, then students are advised not to participate. If the activity involves a gathering of 50 or more people, students are also advised to stay away.
Question: “Does this policy apply for site visits and industrial talks?”
Answer: This circular only applies to CCAs and not academic activities.