Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, baseline precautionary measures have been implemented to safeguard the health of everyone globally and locally. Social distancing, work-from-home arrangements to minimising contact with crowds and practising good personal hygiene are some of the efforts by the government. | COVID-19 Restrictions
Among the measures implemented in Singapore are restrictions by authorities such as Stay-Home Notice (SHN), Leave of Absence (LOA) and Quarantine Order (QO).
While some of us might have heard of these terms, not everyone are aware of their differences.
To help students get a better understanding of these commonly-referred-to terms amid the COVID-19 outbreak—which could be confusing—the MOE has made a comic strip available to all on its Facebook page just yesterday (16 March).
MOE Comic Strip On COVID-19 Restrictions: QO, SHN and LOA
COVID-19 Restrictions: A comic strip to highlight the differences between LOA, SHN and QO for students’ better understanding. | Image: MOE
The comic starts off by stating the precautionary measures to keep COVID-19 at bay, namely the Leave of Absence (LOA), Stay-Home Notice (SHN) and Quarantine Order (QO).
To the surprise of some, COVID-19 restrictions can be issued to people who are well, and not only those suspected of COVID-19.
According to MOE, those serving LOA, SHN or QO are generally healthy.
With the exception of those under QO who could be associated with COVID-19 patients, those under LOA or SHN are considered well.
MOE’s Breakdown of the Different COVID-19 Restrictions: Which is Most Severe?
MOE has clearly detailed what can be expected of each of the COVID-19 restrictions.
It also highlights the level of severity of each restriction on what an individual can or cannot do, with QO having the highest level of restriction.
Those served an LOA should minimise unnecessary trips outdoors and avoid hanging out with friends.
They are allowed to head out to buy food but must remain contactable at any point in time.
What about those issued with an SHN?
It is unlike an LOA where persons are allowed to leave their homes briefly to purchase daily necessities or attend to important personal matters. They will also have to minimise interaction with those at home.
Persons issued an SHN will not be allowed to leave the house at all. Failing to do so may result in being prosecuted under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act. Permanent Residents (PRs), Dependent Pass (DP) or Student Pass (STP) holders may also have Re-Entry Permits, DP or STP revoked or shortened, according to an FAQ fact sheet by MOE.
Now, on to those who are issued an QO, which simply refers to self-isolation.
They can neither leave their home, nor come into contact with anyone in the house, including family members.
It is considered the most severe order as non-compliance can result in serious penalties.
What Will Happen To Students Issued An SHN or QO?
In the event students are issued an SHN or QO and are unable to attend school, parents and students need not worry.
Students will be kept updated and supported by their form teachers with their school work which include them making phone calls to students to check on their physical and emotional well-being, apart from school work.
The aim is to ensure that students are well-supported even during their absence from school.
As part of MOE’s efforts, schools will plan and implement a home-based learning programme to best suit the lessons and needs of students such as:
Informing students on specific pieces of homework or readings from textbooks
If necessary, students will receive hard copy packages on materials needed for subjects such as Art
Students will be given access to online materials in the Singapore Student Learning Space (available to all under LOA, SHN or QO) or the Learning Management Systems and teachers will monitor their progress through these platforms
The comic ends off with a reassuring statement to let everyone know that the virus can be defeated, with controlled efforts and collaboration.
“There’s no need to be fearful”
“The risk of infection through brief contact is low. Just make sure to monitor your health and temperature,” wrote MOE.
It also seeks to remind everyone that as long as everyone does their own part to maintain their health, from practising good personal hygiene and being socially responsible, the transmission of infection can be controlled.