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Graduating tertiary students working in healthcare institutions not allowed to attend physical graduation ceremonies: MOH

SINGAPORE — The authorities have barred graduating tertiary students who have started working in healthcare institutions from attending their graduation ceremonies this week. This is just before tighter Covid-19 safety rules kick in from Saturday (May 8), requiring such ceremonies to be converted to virtual ceremonies.

Graduating tertiary students working in healthcare institutions not allowed to attend physical graduation ceremonies: MOH

The Ministry of Education announced that all graduation ceremonies held from May 8, 2021 onwards will need to be converted to virtual ones.

SINGAPORE — The authorities have barred graduating tertiary students who have started working in healthcare institutions from attending their graduation ceremonies this week. This is just before tighter Covid-19 safety rules kick in from Saturday (May 8), requiring such ceremonies to be converted to virtual ceremonies.

These graduating students will include those working in both patient-facing and non-patient facing roles. 

The directive from the Ministry of Health has been published on the websites of all five polytechnics.  

It states that all graduands working in healthcare institutions — such as hospitals, medical and dental clinics, nursing homes and retail pharmacies — are not allowed to attend their graduation ceremonies, which are being held this month.

TODAY understands that the order was issued last weekend, affecting several physical ceremonies that have been held since Monday. 

The ceremonies for Singapore’s five polytechnics started this week, while the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) held its graduation ceremonies from April 29 to May 6.

On Tuesday, the Government's Covid-19 task force announced a series of tightened community measures following a rise in locally transmitted Covid--19 cases. The measures, which would kick in from this Saturday, included reducing the size of social gatherings and cutting the daily number of visitors for each household from a maximum of eight to five.

The Ministry of Education also announced on the same day that all graduation ceremonies held from Saturday onwards will need to be converted to virtual ones. This was among a series of other precautionary measures to be rolled out across schools.

SUSS held its final ceremony for the current cohort of graduating students on Thursday, and the university had also told affected students and guests not to attend it, referring to the same MOH directive.

The notice described the move as a precautionary measure in line with MOH’s guidance to healthcare workers to minimise social mingling across different split teams and institutions, before and after work.

"This is part of the healthcare sector’s overall heightened measures to minimise the risk of community and cross-healthcare institutional transmission of Covid-19," it said.

Three of the five polytechnics here — Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Republic Polytechnic — offer healthcare-related diploma courses.

This is the second year in a row that graduation ceremonies have been disrupted by the pandemic.

Last April, The Straits Times reported that some 26,000 students from the five polytechnics and 6,500 students from the Institute of Technical Education had graduated without any milestone ceremonies. Instead, the institutions made arrangements for diplomas, certificates and transcripts to be delivered to the graduating students.

TODAY has sought comments from the tertiary institutions on how many students are affected by MOH’s directive this year.

Related topics

education healthcare polytechnic MOH graduation ceremony Covid-19

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