With only fully vaccinated students allowed to participate in the resumption of the National School Games (NSG) in Term 2 and the Singapore Youth Festival (SYF), are children now being segregated by their vaccination status?
This decision to limit the NSG and SYF to fully vaccinated students have probably taken the comments by Health Minister Ong Ye Kung that children between the ages of five to 11 have the highest rate of COVID-19 infections in Singapore currently into consideration.
Also, instead of calling it a resumption of team sports, these events have been renamed “pilot programmes” for schools and Institutes of Higher Learning (IHL), conducted under the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY). Here, the number of vaccinated participants allowed has been increased from the prevailing limit of five to 10 as well.
This restriction however, does not contradict the comment by Education Minister Chan Chun Sing in his parliamentary reply to Members of Parliament (MPs) Darryl David, Patrick Tay and Foo Mee Har in January that “there are presently no plans to make COVID-19 vaccination a requirement for physical attendance in our pre-schools or primary schools”.
But confusion seems to have taken hold when some sporting academies for kids are resorting to cancelling training sessions and this, in turn, affects operators of indoor sports facilities, as stricter infection control measures kick in this month for unvaccinated children aged 12 and below.
According to those that spoke to TODAY online, ceasing of training sessions is the latest among a string of steps that they had taken to comply with the changing Covid-19 regulations impacting the sporting sector.
In a call to MOE, TheHomeGround Asia found out that the vaccination differentiation measures only applies to the activities under the MOE-MCCY pilot. MOE says all students will be able to continue attending physical classes as well as their own Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) regardless of their vaccination status.
The ministry’s spokesperson added that the reason for the tightening of restrictions is due to the higher-risk nature of the team sports activities where the participants are unmasked and in close contact for prolonged periods.
MOE currently has no plans to extend the vaccination differentiation measures beyond the pilot programmes, and it is closely monitoring the Covid-19 situation before making any further decisions.