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Dean of Students (DOS) Update on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

Image: Circuit breaker at College Green, NUS (which is automatic)

  PUBLISHED: 4 April 2020, 7:00 p.m.

DOS UPDATE #28 - This Circuit Breaker is Not Automatic

Dear Students:

  1. So far, a total of seven students staying at a hotel have breached their Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and been reported to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). They will also be subjected to NUS Board of Discipline.

  2. There are seven students now serving their Quarantine Orders (QO).

  3. Under the Circuit Breaker (CB) protocols, students who want to stay on campus will still be allowed to do so.

  4. The University Health Centre (UHC) will still continue to provide full support. All frontline staff will be working on-site. 

The collection of measures announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday is not really a “circuit breaker”. True, they do remove power from a faulty system by giving us a chance to break the chain of transmission, but unlike a real circuit breaker, they are not automatic. Instead, they need all of us to be watching, to be guarding our own behaviour and to call out those who misbehave.

This circuit breaker requires all of us to make it work.

While the NUS sanctions framework for non-compliance with COVID-19 control measures recommends expulsion be considered for a second offence, NUS Statute 6 also allows expulsion for a first offence if sufficiently egregious. In a pandemic, a simple act but one which endangers many people can count as egregious.

In Singapore, six people have died, 472 are sick, 45,007 under QOs or SHN – some of it is bad luck but a lot of it is bad behaviour. People get infected, people die, because of others who do not comply with orders to isolate, or to practise safe distancing. They say to themselves – “it is only a short walk, it is only to talk to my friend, it is only to stretch my legs.” And most insidious of all, they say: “I can’t be infected.”

Yes. You. Can.

At the press conference yesterday, the exasperation was clear in Lawrence Wong’s voice that these enhanced measures broached no gaming. “It is no longer about gatherings of 10 or whatever. Just stop. Stay at home.”

Just. Stop. 

If you can’t, here’s a graph that should at least give you pause.


Image: CNA

Studying remains essential. We will keep study rooms and some parts of the library open but you cannot study in a group. There will be more details to come. 

UHC separate and autonomous clinics

From Mon 6 Apr UHC will operate two separate and autonomous clinics. These two clinics have separate entrances and exits as well as restricted physical communication between staff to prevent cross-infection.

Both clinics will continue to be equipped with treatment rooms, labs and dispensaries. In a worst-case scenario and/or when a positive case has been identified and a clinic needs to close, the delivery of health services at NUS will continue at the other clinic, albeit with modifications.

1. Main Clinic

Primary function: Manage fever and suspect cases
Medical Staff: Full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)*
Other features: Isolation room for high risk cases

*For the well-being of UHC staff, the teams will be on a weekly rotation to minimise fatigue from wearing PPE.

2. Specialist Clinic (Extension Block within UHC)

Primary function: Manage non-febrile cases
Medical staff: Surgical masks

dos-update-28-uhc clinics

Images: UHC

If there are two interpretations of a rule, take the stricter one. If there is a choice between the soft way and the hard, take the hard. If there is a choice between being with friends or being alone, be alone. For the next one month, live a solitary life.

It will not be easy.

But the best of us will show grace under pressure, and together, out of the night which covers us black as the pit from pole to pole, we will all emerge, circuit unbroken, all unconquerable souls.

A/P Leong Ching
NUS Dean of Students

#QOTD Questions of the Day

Anyone who needs tips on how to hold an election during COVID-19 can ask KEVII Hall. This year they held an e-rally, e-debate via Zoom, and e-voting. Student leadership at the hostels have been vital in the past 24 hours in ensuring that the new measures are understood and that the students’ views taken into consideration in implementation.

Elected just one day ago, the President of the JCRC Hong Xian Li, (Year 3, Nursing) and Vice President Wang Jiaqi, (Year 3, Life Sciences) led the effort to gather student feedback.  They put out an e-form, and spoke to many residents to get immediate concerns. A/P Lee Kooi Cheng, Master, KEVII Hall wrote a list of FAQs in her own update.


1. Limited movement

Whichever the date that is decided as the move out date, those who decide to stay in Hall cannot go home during the circuit breaker period. Those who choose to go home cannot come back to the Hall until the end of term. This is to minimise movement and to stay intact in reducing risks of spread. I strongly encourage you to discuss with your parents/family members over the weekend before you decide.

2. Life will be solitary

Most things will be done in solitary. We eat in our own rooms, we exercise (run, taichi) on our own.  The dining hall will be closed for dine in. We do take-away.

3. Studying remains essential

The study room will be kept open but everyone must abide by the social distancing arrangement made.

Once committed to staying at Hall, it means the following:

  1. Not to go home (date TBC) until the end of circuit break period.
  2. Take away meals and eat at own rooms.  Essentially no eating together (unless it is a double room).
  3. Kitchenettes and pantries will be kept open but there is no cooking together. 
  4. There is no visiting of one another’s room.
  5. No visitors from outside the Hall will be allowed.

  6. When in the study room, everyone must comply with the social distancing arrangement put in place.

During this period of time, we recognise that some may feel isolated or stressed.  It is crucial that as a community, we 

  1. Keep in touch via e-platform.
  2. Support one another emotionally (through e-platform).
  3. Assist in meals delivery, if required.
  4. Let RFs or Master know if unwell.  Wear a mask if unwell.  See a doctor immediately. 
  5. Practise personal hygiene at all times.
  6. Keep to our exercise regime (exercise on our own).

There will be sanctions for those who do not comply.


Q1) Would we be able to go out of the Hall to buy things?

Yes.  You may go out to perform essential things like buying groceries, buying food (take away only), going to UHC if unwell, going for a run/walk (on your own) within our vicinity. Please refer to the infographics here for more information. infographics


Q2) Would we get refund for the remaining stay?

Yes. OHS will process refund and credit within 4 to 6 weeks after check-out date.

Q3) Can we check out by giving less than 2 days of notice?

Yes. Follow the check-out process. 

Q4) What are the check-out procedures? 

Essentially, after you have cleared your room, complete the check-out form. Place the completed check-out form + your transponder in an envelope. Label the envelope with your name + room number and drop the envelope into the Key Dropbox. There are hardcopies of the check-out form and envelopes at the desk outside the Hall Office if you need them.  

Q5) What happens if I would like to check out after 6 April 2020?

It is advised that those who decide to stay home, check out by Sun 12 Apr 2020.  For those who check out after 12 Apr 2020, there will be no refund for the remaining of stay (which is in line with past practice on early check-outs).  Please also note that for those who stay on after Mon 6 Apr 2020, the Circuit Breaker protocols will start on Tues 7 Apr 2020.


DOS Update #1 (28 January 2020)
DOS Update #2 - The Proximity of Noses (29 January 2020)
DOS Update #3 - Black cats, white cats and the placebo effect (30 January 2020)
DOS Update #4 - A Thousand Words (31 January 2020)
DOS Update #5 - Food, Buses and the Virtual Company of Friends (1 February 2020)
DOS Update #6 - What's in a name? (2 February 2020)
DOS Update #7 - "Everyone is scared, but it’s part of our job.” (3 February 2020)
DOS Update #8 - Noisy Fans and Fishy Water: Life on the Inside (4 February 2020)
DOS Update #9 - With Love from the Canteen (5 February 2020)
DOS Update #10 - Live on Telegram (6 February 2020)
DOS Update #11 - Ambulance in the Night (7 February 2020)
DOS Update #12 - The Sword and the Shield (8 February 2020)
DOS Update #13 - Once more, with teeth (9 February 2020)
DOS Update #14 - What is the essence of a room? (10 February 2020)
DOS Update#15 - We will not run (11 February 2020)
DOS Update #16 - To wear or not to wear (12 February 2020)
DOS Update #17 - NUS COVID-19 case had no recent contact with students (13 February 2020)
DOS Update #18 - Love and Analogies of War (14 February 2020)
DOS Update #19 -  No good reason to persist in inaction (21 February 2020)
DOS Update #20 - As Mad-eye Moody would say (25 February 2020)
DOS Update #21 (26 February 2020)
DOS Update #22 - Guarding Grades Integrity: "Those who copy will confirm die" (28 February 2020)
DOS Update #23 - Student terminated from Student Exchange Programme with NUS for breaching LOA
DOS Update #24 - A warm welcome home (19 March 2020)
DOS Update #25 - Do or do not, there is no try. (24 March 2020)
DOS Update #26 - The Comforts of Home (26 March 2020)
DOS Update #27 - So Dawn Goes Down to Day - Part 1 (28 March 2020)
DOS Update #27 - So Dawn Goes Down to Day - Part 2 (29 March 2020) 
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