Leave of absence for NUS’ China travellers


The University has put in place a set of counter measures to address the COVID-19 situation


Staff and students returning from travel to mainland China will need to go on a mandatory 14-day leave of absence as part of the new counter measures introduced by NUS to address the evolving COVID-19 situation.

A cluster of four blocks of the University’s Prince George’s Park Residences (PGPR), located on the eastern edge of Kent Ridge Campus, has also been designated as a Government Quarantine Facility (GQF) by the authorities, said Dr Peck Thian Guan, Director of the Office of Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE), in a note to the University community on 27 January.

Dr Peck explained, “Our key focus is to keep our 53,000 students and staff safe and in good health. We are following the COVID-19 situation in Singapore and around the world very closely, and working with NUS experts, as well as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, to ensure that we have appropriate precautionary measures in place to keep our community safe and healthy.”

The University had on 23 January asked all staff and students to defer their travel plans to mainland China because of the escalating COVID-19 situation. A more detailed advisory was sent to staff and students a few days later.

Among the new measures:

  • Compulsory leave of absence of 14 days for all staff and students returning from mainland China;
  • Daily temperature taking for staff and students staying in NUS hostels;
  • Asking visitors from mainland China to delay their visit to the University for 14 days upon arrival to Singapore, or to defer their visits to a later date; and
  • Advising visitors from other countries to check the Ministry of Health website for updated information concerning travellers to Singapore.

The PGPR GQF, along with other GQFs at the Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University, are part of the Singapore Government’s response plan for emergencies. GQFs may be activated from time to time, in preparation for the possibility that the GQF will be needed for use as quarantine housing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the community.

The PGPR GQF will be used to house NUS international staff and students issued with quarantine orders by the authorities, if any, said Dr Peck.

“Daily meals and essential items will be delivered to our quarantined staff and students, who will not come into contact with the general NUS population,” he explained.

Dr Peck added that individuals who show symptoms would be immediately transferred to designated hospitals for further evaluation.