DOS Update #9 - With Love from the Canteen

5 February 2020


  • The University has provided hostel rooms to 14 students who have been evicted from their rental homes by their landlords after returning from China. The students will serve their Leave Of Absence  in our hostels. They are well and show no symptoms.
  • The 1-hour “live” Telegram chat between LOA students and NUS Senior Management will take place tomorrow, 6 February from 4pm-5pm. In this session, students can Ask Me Anything.

With the recent four cases of local transmission, some students have questions about how NUS will be adapting our processes, including whether we will cancel events. We had earlier decided to shift a career festival, a large-scale event, to a later date.

Today we remain at DORSCON Yellow, but we are prepared, if the risk escalates, to move to 100% e-learning, cancel mass events and tighten protocols in campus housing. 

In light of the local transmission, Vice Dean Adeline Seow, a physician and Associate Professor at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, will answer your questions at the QOTD.

This is why this update is IMPORTANT – it shows you not just the decisions NUS makes, but the context and the facts at hand when these decisions were taken. These could override past decisions with new measures.

As my good friend Dr Wong Chiang Yin said in his column for The Straits Times today, “It is paramount that the authorities keep giving clear explanations and updated information, and drive home the truth that in this evolving situation, different solutions will be needed at different stages of the outbreak.

So policy tweaks, reversals or modifications are to be expected and must not be misconstrued as examples of incompetence.” 

Meanwhile, let me tell you of another friend, at the NUS Bukit Timah Campus (BTC), one of my favourite stalls is owned by “Yang Jie” (Elder Sister Yang – we’re the same age, but that’s what everyone calls her and she accepts it with good grace when I do too).

Yang Jie owns the beef noodle and mala stall, which offers a fantastic range of mushrooms and vegetables. She also has a group chat with students at the BTC campus - including those on LOA.

Over the past one week, she has been preparing customised meal orders.

She shares pictures of the fresh ingredients available for the day. Students then send in their orders and she confirms them via a video. She sends it with complimentary soup and white rice, delivery is then made to the students’ hostels by her staff at about 6pm daily.   

From there, the students get their friends or staff to complete the final delivery to their rooms. 

As a mother to a Year 2 Computing student at NUS, Yang Jie sees this as doing her bit for the students on LOA. 

WhatsApp Image 2020-02-05 at 6.48.48 PM

Yang Jie at her mala stall.


Customised meals for LOA students by Yang Jie who owns the BTC beef noodle and mala stall.

In the van of NUSSU

Today, the student leaders of NUSSU did the heavy lifting at meals delivery.

A team of NUS Students’ Union (NUSSU) members unloading the welfare packs at PGPR carpark.

Armed with a Class 4 driving license and four years of driving experience, Karan stepped up as our driver for the day – driving NUSSU’s trusted logistics van aka “VANessa 2.0”, a 1.5 year old 2,500cc Nissan NV350.

I know Karan Sarat, a Year 2 Computer Engineering student, because we had sat on a Board of Discipline hearing together. As Deputy Student Life Secretary, he is on the EXCO of NUSSU.

Karan had been an ambulance driver at the Sungei Gedong Camp Medical Centre, which is used to evacuate army personnel. He has a Class 4 driving license – which he puts to good use when he was driving the van as the Vice Project Director (Internal) for NUSSU Rag Day in August 2019.

Driving VANessa today was a breeze. Karan and five other NUSSU leaders delivered a total of 100 welfare packs and lunches to the students on LOA residing at PGPR.

“There was a call for help by NUSSU and my friends and I volunteered. After all, every little help counts.”


From left to right: Karan Sarat, Year 2 Computer Engineering; Krishna Alamuru, Year 3, Chemical Engineering; and Muhammad Quraishi, Year 4, Political Science. Photo: Sean Tan, Head, Student Organisations, OSA

“I volunteered because if I am in their position, I would also want someone to help me. At the end of the day, we are all in this together."

- Muhammad Quraishi, Year 4, Political Science

“One word to sum up today’s experience for me is: Reassuring. It is reassuring to see that the students are not too down and managing well. It doesn’t scare me to do this meal delivery - we are more aware of the virus, and we know how to protect ourselves.”

- Krishna Alamuru, Year 3, Chemical Engineering

A/P Leong Ching
NUS Dean of Students



Frontline 前线追踪 (FY1920) - EP44
Timecode: 4:10 min - 7:20 min

As the fight against the 2019 Novel Coronavirus continues, Singaporeans have also stepped forward to care for others in their own ways. Watch how our students are making a difference in the NUS community.


#QOTD Questions of the Day

Question: “There is a girl in my cluster who is currently on Leave Of Absence (LOA) and we share a common toilet and pantry. The girl collects her meals which are left in the pantry but I believe meals should be left hanging on her door handle instead.

I approached OSA to ask if there would be added cleaning procedures to minimise spreading by contact but was told there would be none since students on LOA are not sick.

Yesterday, however, toilet and shower cubicles were assigned for students on LOA after we had been sharing facilities.

Furthermore, students on self-quarantine should wear masks as long as they leave their rooms but this girl has been seen without a mask on two occasions despite the Resident Assistant’s (RA) reminders to her. Her quarantine only ends next week and I, along with other residents in my cluster, are concerned about the general residents’ safety and well-being.”

Answers by A/P Adeline Seow, Vice Dean of Students, Office of Student Affairs

I understand and appreciate your writing to us, not just for yourself but for others who may share the same concerns.

Cleaning and environmental hygiene is certainly one way that NUS is combating potential spread of disease, and colleagues in the Office of Housing Services have confirmed that more frequent cleaning and sanitising is taking place.

 As you point out - in some cases additional precautions have been put in place, keeping in mind current available knowledge of what measures are known to make a difference, the need for residents to feel assured, and practical feasibility.

All of these need to be combined, of course, with everyone chipping in to observe basic hand hygiene practices and other practical steps to maintain vigilance.

Yes, you are right in highlighting that the community depends on those on LOA to observe procedures and take them seriously.

We know that many of our LOA students have been doing so conscientiously and sincerely thank them for making the effort to provide this level of assurance to their neighbours and course mates.

We anticipate that there will be occasions when timely action needs to be taken to prevent this from slipping, and RAs have been reminded to let their Resident Advisors and OSA know (and in some cases the Office of Student Conduct will need to be notified) if these incidents occur so we can respond.

I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to let us know if there are additional concerns.

Answers by Mr Sng Jin Soon, Director, Office of Housing Services

Prior to the 2019-nCov situation, the daily cleaning operations are as follows:

One thorough washing of the common toilets with replenishing of amenities every morning.

1. One light clean up with replenishing of amenities daily in the afternoon.
2. Twice a day touch-up /clean-up of common areas such as pantry, corridor and lift that includes sanitising and disinfecting activities, i.e., surface, door handles, railings, etc.

Current cleaning regime:

The schedule is broken down into two scenarios:

For non LOA floors, the daily cleaning operations are as follows:
4. Thorough washing twice a day of the common toilets that includes sanitising with replenishing of amenities, especially hand soap, every morning and late afternoon.
5. Three times per day touch-up / clean-up of common areas such as pantry, corridor and lift that includes sanitiszing and disinfecting activities, i.e., surface, door handles, railings, etc.

For LOA floors, the daily cleaning operations are as follows:
6. Thorough washing four times a day of the common toilets that includes sanitising and with replenishing of amenities, i.e., hand soap.
7. Three times per day clean-up of common areas such as pantry, corridor and lift that that includes sanitising and disinfecting activities, i.e., surface, door handles, railings. etc.

Question: “I read about the stories on DOS Update and was inspired to step up and contribute during these trying times. How can I be of help?” 

Answer: You can volunteer! Email Doris at

Question: “I am currently on LOA. What should I do in the event that I feel unwell?”

If you are staying on campus, for mild symptoms (including fever and flu-like) - call University Health Centre (UHC) at 660-215035 extension 5.

For mild symptoms (not fever or flu-like symptoms, e.g. gastroenteritis, sprains and strains, rashes) – alert the residential team. They will call the Office of Campus Amenities to arrange to take you to UHC.

For severe symptoms of any nature (cardiac arrest, unconsciousness, breathlessness, crushing chest pain, severe injuries, torrential bleeding) – call Campus Security – 6874 1616 and/or call 995. Inform Campus Security that the caller is on LOA so they can lead the ambulance to the student.



DOS Update #1 (28 January 2020)
DOS Update #2 -- The Proximity of Noses (29 January 2020)
DOS Update #3 -- Black cats, white cats and the placebo effect (30 January 2020)
DOS Update #4 -- A Thousand Words (31 January 2020)
DOS Update #5 -- Food, Buses and the Virtual Company of Friends (1 February 2020)
DOS Update #6 -- What's in a name? (2 February 2020)
DOS Update #7 -- "Everyone is scared, but it’s part of our job.” (3 February 2020)
DOS Update #8 -- Noisy Fans and Fishy Water: Life on the Inside (4 February 2020)