NUS to lift zoning restrictions from Dec 6 following drop in Covid-19 community cases

SINGAPORE – The National University of Singapore (NUS) will lift zoning restrictions from Dec 6 in the wake of the low number of Covid-19 community cases in recent weeks.

Introduced in June, the measure is meant to minimise inter-mingling on campus during the Covid-19 outbreak.

In circulars sent to students on Saturday (Oct 31), NUS said the lifting of the restrictions from Dec 6, which is the start of the university vacation period, includes removing microzoning in the hostels.

Students may return to campus on any day, even if they have no classes, from Monday (Nov 2). But they must remain in their respective activity zone.

NUS took “this evidence-based decision after examining campus traffic data and taking into consideration the views of student leaders from National University of Singapore Students’ Union, the student leadership in hostels, faculty clubs and other student organisations,” the circular said.

The university also stressed that it will continue to align its safe management measures with prevailing government guidelines.

Five self-sufficient zones were created on NUS campuses in June, to minimise overcrowding and intermingling. Each zone has its own dining and study areas. The University Health Centre and Victim Care Unit are in a neutral zone and accessible by all.

Students who stay on campus were assigned a study zone, based on their faculty or school, and a residential zone, according to their hostel location.

The zoning has caused some unhappiness due to the restriction of movements.

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To minimise overcrowding in the canteens, NUS urged staff and students to avoid patronising these areas during the lunchtime peak hour, between noon and 1 pm, where possible.

A new crowd sensing app, called Crowd Insight, will also help to notify staff and students of the occupancy load of the canteens.

“We encourage everyone to use Crowd Insight to check the occupancy load before visiting the canteens,” the circular said.

“The Covid-19 situation is evolving, with new interventions introduced such as faster diagnostics tests, TraceTogether Tokens, sewage testing and others to safeguard public health. While we are lifting some of the stringent measures we have put in place, we must not be complacent.”

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