24 March 2020

Dear Parents / Guardians

Keeping Our Children in Preschools Safe Against COVID-19: 14-day Leave of Absence for Preschool Children Staying with a Person who Returned to Singapore from Overseas Travel

New Precautionary Measure

   Recently, we have seen an increase in the number of Singapore residents returning back to Singapore from overseas who have COVID-19. To better protect our younger children, MOE and MSF/ECDA will implement the following two additional precautionary measures for preschool and primary school students:

   a. Students staying in the same household as a person who returned from any country to Singapore from Wednesday, 25 March 2020, 11.59pm, will be placed on 14-day Leave of Absence (LOA). This means such students must not come to school, preschool or student care centre from Thursday, 26 March for the relevant LOA period.

   b. Students staying in the same household as a person who returned to Singapore from the UK, US or ASEAN countries1 on or after 14 March 2020 will be placed on 14-day LOA2.

2  ​​This is a precautionary measure to reduce the risk to young children in the preschool sector. This is because young children may not be able to take the necessary precautions and stay away from household members under Home Quarantine or Stay Home Notice.

Continued Efforts to Keep Preschools Safe

3  These measures are in addition to the earlier announced 14-day LOA issued to students and staff of schools, preschools and student care centres if they returned from overseas on or after 14 March. Preschools have also steadily implemented a series of precautionary measures over the past month, in accordance with ECDA’s advisories. These include increasing the frequency of temperature screening, ensuring personal and environmental hygiene practices among children and staff, restricting visitors and suspending large group activities.

4  We seek your understanding that the COVID-19 outbreak around the world is rapidly escalating. It is therefore critical that precautionary measures in schools and preschools remain responsive, and are stepped up when necessary to protect our children and staff.

5  ECDA, MSF and MOE will continue to monitor the situation closely and work closely with schools, preschools, student care centres, parents and the community to ensure that our schools, preschools and student care centres remain safe.

6  We understand that this new measure will cause inconvenience for families. We seek your understanding and cooperation to comply with the LOA to help safeguard the safety and wellbeing of the over 200,000 children and staff in preschools. The Ministry of Manpower had earlier issued an advisory encouraging all employers to be supportive of their employees’ needs if an employee needs to stay at home for non-work related reasons relating to the COVID-19 situation, e.g. take care of children who are unable to report to school or preschool. Please refer to MOM’s advisory for more details: https://www.mom.gov.sg/covid-19/advisory-for-employers-and-employees-travelling-to-and-from-affected-areas

7  In addition, we recognise that some families and children may be affected due to the COVID-19 situation and have concerns about meeting the requirement for at least 1-day attendance in a month in order to qualify for preschool subsidies. To better support families during this period, ECDA is prepared to exercise flexibility to waive this 1-day subsidy requirement for affected families and children between January and September 2020. This applies to both Infant/Child Care Subsidy and Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS). Parents may approach their preschools to apply for this waiver.

Action by Parents

8  Keeping our preschools safe is a collective effort. Please inform your child’s preschool if there is a household member who (a) returned from any country to Singapore from Wednesday, 25 March 2020, 11.59pm; or (b) returned to Singapore from the UK, US or ASEAN countries on or after 14 March 2020. We encourage you to keep your child at home, and to return to school after the LOA period.

9  Let us continue to work together to protect the well-being of all children and staff of our preschool community.

Thank you.

Early Childhood Development Agency​

Click here for updates on COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019).​​

Note:
1 List of ASEAN countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.
2 The date of return of the household member to Singapore would be considered Day 0. The preschool child may then return to the preschool on Day 15.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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