NUS Students Reportedly Ignored COVID-19 Rules During Orientation

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With the new school year for universities approaching, there’s one event that almost all incoming freshmen and seniors alike have been looking forward to: orientation.

And even though the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a mostly online and scaled-down orientation for the past two batches of freshmen, it’s safe to say that orientation has been back in full swing for the incoming batch of university students this year.

Ever since Singapore relaxed many of its COVID-19 measures in April this year, many large-scale activities that used to be online for the past two years have converted back to being in person, and masks are no longer required outdoors if you’re in a group that’s smaller than ten people.

However, there’s still one restriction that I’m sure everyone’s aware of.

That you need to wear your mask indoors.

Despite what seems like a pretty straightforward and widely-known rule, it seems like some students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) didn’t get the memo, for many of them apparently went maskless during indoor activities.

This occurred during the NUS Business School orientation camp this year, which took place from 15 to 17 June earlier this month.

And it seems like they’ve paid the price for ignoring the COVID-19 restrictions during their camp, for around 20 people have since contracted COVID-19.

Almost 200 People Present During Camp

When speaking to Shin Min Daily News, a 19-year-old incoming freshman of NUS Business School shared that there were around 200 individuals who participated in the orientation camp.

These participants were split into 18 groups, and each day of orientation ran from 8am to 10pm, meaning that the participants spent roughly around 14 hours together during each day of the camp.

She added that the camp involved both indoor and outdoor activities, and that students were permitted to remove their masks during the outdoor activities.

Students Did Not Wear Masks When Indoors

Despite the fact that students were allowed to go maskless only while outdoors, the student revealed that she saw groups of students that did not put their masks back on when they returned to their seats indoors.

Even though there were organising committee members who reminded the participants to wear their masks throughout the activities, it seems like this advice fell on deaf ears.

Some of them even took photos indoors while being maskless, which the female student further proved by showing Shin Min a photo of students being maskless indoors and standing extremely close to each other.

In addition to that, she also shared that some activities in the camp required participants to interact with members of other groups, which meant that there would be some form of physical contact between the various participants.

The participants shared the same equipment as well.


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As for the student that Shin Min talked to, she did not dare to take off her mask between activities due to the fear of contracting COVID-19.

Positive Case Appeared on Day 2, But Activities Continued

The freshman continued to share that the participants received a WhatsApp message informing them of the fact that someone in another group had been infected with COVID-19.

Despite the positive COVID-19 case, the orientation camp activities continued.

Instead of suspending the activities, the organising committee disinfected the lecture halls and seats, while participants in the same group as the infected person took Antigen Rapid Tests (ARTs).

More than 20 Students Caught COVID-19 After Orientation Ended

While the activities continued as per normal even after there was a case of COVID-19, the worst part of the orientation only came after the end of the activities.

After the orientation activities ended, the student said that she and another 20 of her friends all tested positive for COVID-19.


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This disrupted plans for a number of incoming freshmen since some of them wanted to travel overseas, but had to postpone their travel plans after contracting COVID-19.

Since all participants tested ART-negative prior to the camp, she believes that she and her friends all ended up getting the virus during the orientation camp period.

She added that the organising committee did remind students to take their ARTs as well, but there were also people who turned a blind eye to the reminders.

Apart from that, she also revealed that there were students who started feeling unwell during the orientation activities, but chose to continue attending them.

The reason?


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They did not want to waste the $55 that they had already paid for the orientation.

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NUS’ Response

After the incident, an NUS Business School spokesperson told Shin Min that there were multiple students who had indeed been infected with COVID-19 after orientation, and that the school has gotten in touch with the relevant students to offer assistance.

The spokesperson highlighted that even though the orientation is an important start to students’ university life and helps them know more about the university, NUS prioritises the safety of students.

Apart from that, students are not required to stay overnight in school throughout the event and are not forced to attend if they do not feel well.

The spokesperson also added that the students who violate safety measures will face disciplinary action.


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Featured Image: Arpan on Shutterstock / Shutterstock.com


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