Lost in Translation : MOE Letter in Simple English - TheWackyDuo.com - Singapore Wacky Magazine

Lost in Translation : MOE Letter in Simple English


When we received this letter from MOE via the Parent Gateway, we were stumped.

This letter was meant to update on the policies of the School's Leave or Absence and Approved Absence Policy. However, at the first reading, many parents thought they were reading Greek.  Whatever message that was meant for parents was lost in translation. 

While we were scratching our heads to decipher the message after the first reading, it became clearer after we realised what made it so difficult to read.

The use of an acronym

Singapore is well known for its acronym. From ECP to PIE, BMT to SOC and now LOA to QO, it has been well used. This letter had introduced several more than most would be unfamiliar with. Let's break it down.

GQF - Government Quarantine Facility  

This is the facility for those serving Quarantine Orders away from home. Most Singapore residents associate this with hotels or a paid 'staycation'.

PUQ - Person Under Quarantine

This referred to individuals who are supposed to be quarantined. It is not a new term, just one that is not widely used. 

HRW- Health Risk Warning

If you are identified to be a Cose Contact of a COVID-19 case, you will receive a Health Risk Warning (HRW). You will also receive an HRW notification if you have been near a COVID-19 case for an extended period of time.

Under the current law, an HRW is supposed to do the following.

  1. Proceed to get a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test at a designated testing centre
  2. Self-isolate immediately until you receive a negative test result
  3. Perform a self-test using an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) self-test kit on the 7th day from last exposure to determine if you are infected. This kit will be provided to you
  4. Proceed to do another PCR test at a designated testing centre on the 14th day from the last exposure. This is to determine whether you are incubating the COVID-19 virus

AA -Approved Absence 

Approved Absence is similar to LOA. It is issued to students /staff of Kindergarten, primary, secondary, JC. LOA is issued to students and staff of Institutes of Higher Learning.

The Way it is written

Other than the use of acronyms, the way the letter was phased makes processing it a challenge. The use of terms such as "entry swab test" stumped many,   as most do not know what it refers to. (For the record, it refers to a swab test)

Source: Parent Gateway

The Letter in simple English

Trust me, I am the last person you would like to translate a letter to English. My grammar is the "cannot make it kind" . Besides, I am not exactly known for immaculate spelling.

Anyways, here it goes.

Further Updates to School's Leave of Absence and Approved Absence Policy

From Aug 19, Students and staff, who are placed on LOA due to being closed contacts of a person under quarantined, can return to school and have their LOA removed base on the following condition.

The close contact has been tested negative in a swab test at a government facility or if the close contact who is serving QO at home is tested negative.

Additionally, Students and Staff issued with Health Risk Warning may return to school, if they are tested negative for COVID-19 and is well.

The above changes apply to students and staff at primary and secondary schools, as well as junior colleges and Millennia Institute. 

There you go, short and simple.

That is how you communicate with the public. Using terminology and phasing that required a rocket scientist to decipher is not the way to do it. 

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