[SSG CIRCULAR/PPD/2021/Circular No.6]: Advisory on the additional guidelines under Phase Two (Heightened Alert) from 16 May 2021 to 13 June 2021

Dear Training Providers,

This advisory provides additional guidelines on the Phase Two (Heightened Alert) measures for Continuing Education and Training (CET) activities and venues, following the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF)’s announcement on 14 May 2021. This is for strict compliance by all training providers (TPs).

Temporary tightening of national Safe Management Measures (SMMs)

2.     Key changes arising from the temporary tightening of national SMMs, effective from 16 May 2021 to 13 June 2021, are highlighted below.

Conditions for in-person training
3.     Maximum class size. To minimise risk of transmission at CET venues, the maximum class size for all CET activities is capped at 50 persons (including the trainer(s)), including conferences and seminars. However, SSG’s prevailing guideline for a maximum class size of 40 persons (excluding the trainer(s)) for course quality reasons remains and takes precedence. Group work should be avoided. If required, group work should be done in groups of not more than 2 persons, in line with the permitted group size for social gatherings, which will be lowered from 5 persons to 2 persons. All TPs must put in place safe management measures, in line with the prevailing safe management measures for the workplace and/or training sites, stipulated by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

4.     CET delivery mode. In view of the increasing number of cases in the community, we strongly advise all training to be moved online. For courses with existing approved in-person training, TPs are granted the flexibility to conduct these training via synchronous e-learning delivery mode between 8 May 2021 to 13 June 2021 (extended), without the need to seek SSG’s approval. TPs will need to ensure that they comply with the prevailing SSG criteria for synchronous e-learning courses (refer to Annex A for the e-learning criteria). TPs that have obtained approval to offer training of the same course content in dual delivery modes (i.e. both in-person and synchronous e-learning) can continue to do so.

On-site manpower to support CET activities
5.     In line with MOM’s guidelines, working from home will be the default at workplaces. All staff who are able to work from home must be advised to do so. TPs should be judicious in allowing staff whose work must be done on-site, e.g. to support learners attending in-person training, provide other essential services or access lab-based equipment, to return. In addition, social gatherings at the workplaces are not allowed, to lower the risk of transmission by reducing the levels of interaction at common spaces at or near the workplaces.

Use of masks and face shields
6.     In line with MOH’s advisory, staff (incl. trainers) and learners must wear masks at all times, except when eating and drinking. Face shields are not allowed as substitutes for mask wear except for individuals who have medical reasons that require the use of face shields, or for staff when interacting with learners with hearing impairment. This will apply to trainers who previously had the option of wearing face shields in lieu of masks while teaching. For staff (incl. trainers) who have to wear face shields for medical reasons or when interacting with learners with hearing impairment, they must remain in a fixed position and maintain at least 2m away from any other persons. In addition, CET activities which involve “mask-off” activities such as strenuous physical activities and exercises, are not allowed.

Meal arrangements at CET venues
7.     For full-day CET activities, staff and learners should be allowed to pack their own food and consume their meals at CET venues during meal breaks, with safe distancing between individuals based on the prevailing SMMs. Learners should be seated at least 1m apart and social interaction should be avoided while eating. Learners should mask up when not consuming any food and drink,and leave the dining premise after finishing their meals. TPs should implement staggered mealtimes across classes to reduce inter-mingling between classes.

General Safe Management Measures (SMMs)

8.     TPs should continue to abide by the SMMs for TPs as previously laid out in SSG’s advisories, as well as MOM’s guidelines on SMMs for the workplace. Where in doubt, TPs should check www.gov.sg/features/covid-19 for updates and the latest advisories.

a. TraceTogether-only SafeEntry (ToS). In tandem with the national roll-put, ToS will be implemented across all CET venues from 17 May 2021. TPs are to remind learners that they should bring along their TT Token or App with them, to facilitate accurate contact tracing, should the need arise. At the point of entry into the training venues, if any learners forget to bring their TT token, they are required to download the TT App on their phones before they can be allowed entry. If they are unable to do so (e.g. phone is out of battery, or non-smartphone), TPs can still allow the learners entry by taking down their NRIC details. These records should be maintained for at least a month for contact tracing purposes. For learners who repeatedly fail to bring their TT token or refuse to use the TT App, TPs should take the necessary actions to ensure compliance.

b. SafeEntry Gateway (SEGW) for CET venues. From 15 June 2021, the deployment of SEGW will be mandatory for all in-person CET venues (see Annex B on the list of venues required to deploy SEGW). The SEGW works with TraceTogether App or Token, and it facilitates a more convenient check-in experience for visitors and helps users find out when their Token is out of battery. It only requires the TraceTogether App or Token to be brought within 1-25cm of range to detect Bluetooth signals for check-in. Please note that the deployment of SEGW will be one of the contact tracing requirements for all in-person CET venues from 15 June 2021.

c. Training venues. There should be fixed seating and safe distancing of at least 1m between individuals, where practicable. If this is not possible, TPs must ensure there is at least 1m distance between groups of no more than 2 persons in learning venues, except for instances where learners are required to move around the venue e.g. to handle machinery. TPs should also ensure that there is no congregation (i.e. large crowds of learners) in the premises.

d. Staggered entry and exit. To reduce inter-mingling between groups when learners enter and disperse from training venues, TPs should make appropriate adjustments to the timetable to stagger lesson start and end times as far as possible.

For strict compliance by Training Providers

9.     TPs are required to strictly comply with national COVID-19 measures and all additional measures stipulated by SSG. Failure to comply may be taken as a violation of the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) (Control Order) Regulations with its attendant penalties which include a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both, for first time offenders. Higher penalties of a fine of up to $20,000, imprisonment of up to 12 months, or both, may apply for subsequent offences. TPs may also be subject to additional SSG actions, e.g. termination of registration status or suspension of SSG funding.

10.    For any clarifications, you may contact SSG’s hotline at 6785 5785 or log a case via the Feedback Portal at https://portal.ssg-wsg.gov.sg/feedback.

Thank you.

Annex A – E-learning Criteria
Annex B – List of venues required to deploy SEGW