School Leave of Absence vs Quarantine Orders : What are the difference - - Singapore Wacky Digital Underground Outpost

School Leave of Absence vs Quarantine Orders : What are the difference

Are you confused by LOA and QO?

With the recent spate of Covid19 infections in schools, the letters from schools had stated that close contacts would be placed under Leave of Absence or Quarantine Order.

While both terms are used interchangeably by the man on the street, there is a distinct difference between them. Given the timing and circumstances, we thought a thorough explanation would be worth exploring.

Leave of Absence (LOA) 

LOA is issued to students under the following circumstances

  • When they are in close contact with confirmed cases but are not placed on Home Quarantine Order (HQO)
  • If members in their households are serving HQO at their place of residence or
  • If members in their household have returned from overseas AND serving their ICA-issued SNH at their place of residence 

Students can be placed on LOA when they are staying in the same household as adults with flu-like symptoms for the duration of the unwell individuals' medical leave or until the adult is informed of a negative Covid-19 Swab test.

LOA requirements

  • Stay at home
  • Minimise contact with other
  • Monitor health closely. 

LOA allows you to briefly attend to matters but must return home as soon as possible. 

It is not necessary for members in the same household to be segregated from the person placed on LOA. They are encouraged to reduce interaction and minimise contact with person places under LOA

Quarantine Order (QO)

Unlike LOA, a QO is a legal order under the infectious Diseases Act. There will be penalties for non-compliance. 

  • QO can be done at home or Government Quarantine Facilities or hospitals. The the actual venue will be determined by MOH base on the assessment of the person's contact history, state of health and suitability of the home.
  • If you are issued a QO  and live with other household members who are not QO, you will be conveyed to a Government Quarantine Facility ( GQF) to serve your quarantine period.
  • QO persons are not supposed to come into contact with others to avoid the possibility of the spread of the virus through person to person contact. Hence those quarantines will need to be isolated. However, there may be an exceptional circumstance in which you may serve QO at home (eg if you are a caregiver)

Swab Tests

All persons under Quarantine will be tested for COVID-19 during QO period. Typically, 2 swab tests will be done. One is at the start of the infection, while the other is an exit swab before QO ends. Persons under LOA are typically not swabbed when LOA ends.

Unfortunately, MOE and affected schools did not indicate when a student will be required to undergo QO or LOA. Regardless, the main thing is to remain vigilant. Wear masks, wash hands often, avoid direct contact with anyone. 

Stay safe!

Source: MOH

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