8 June 2020
Dear Preschool Operators,
COVID-Safe Preschools Fund
Thank you for partnering ECDA to implement the enhanced safe management measures under ‘COVID-Safe ABCs’ – COVID-Safe Access, COVID-Safe Behaviours, and COVID-Safe Classrooms, to ensure a COVID-safe environment for the children and staff in your centre.
Launch of COVID-Safe Preschools Fund
2. In our circulars dated 19 May 2020 and 27 May 2020, we had informed operators of efforts to support preschools in their implementation of COVID-Safe ABCs in the following ways:
a. Bulk purchase arrangement for tools/equipment that could help preschools with their ‘COVID-Safe ABC’ measures – facilitated by ASSETS1, with support by ECDA;
b. Funding support for tools/equipment that support ‘COVID-Safe Access’ – for example, pre-approved visitor management systems including temperature screening solutions via enhanced Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)2; and
c. Funding support for tools/equipment that support ‘COVID-Safe Behaviours’ – such as automated hand sanitisers and soap dispensers. This is new and it was stated that details will be released in due course.
3. We are glad to now provide details on the funding support for ‘COVID-Safe Behaviours’, via a new COVID-Safe Preschools Fund. From today, preschools, Early Intervention Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC) and Pilot for Private Intervention Providers (PPIP) centres may apply for one-off funding support for tools/equipment purchased during the Circuit Breaker period and in June 2020, which help preschools in the implementation of COVID-Safe Behaviours upon reopening.
4. To qualify for the support, operators must provide proof of purchase of tools/equipment that support COVID-Safe Behaviours for the purposes of readying centres for safe reopening. Such solutions should fall within the following categories:
• Automated soap dispensers
• Automated hand sanitisers;
• Personal protective equipment (e.g. masks and face shields);
• Partitioning equipment (e.g. desk shields); and/or
• Disinfectant products, as assessed by NEA.
See Annex A for more information on these eligible tools/equipment.
5. For purchases made between 7 April (i.e. start of Circuit Breaker) and 14 July 2020, preschools, EIPIC and PPIP centres can apply for support to reimburse 90% of total invoices for such tools/equipment, up to the following caps:
• $1,000 per centre for all non-AOP/POP preschools as well as all EIPIC and PPIP centres
• $500 per centre for all AOP and POP centres3.
6. Interested applicants may refer to the Application Form. Please note that the application deadline is 14 July 2020. For more information on the COVID-Safe Preschools Fund, please refer to the attached FAQs.
7. Please note that this support is intended to help defray some expenses incurred by centres for safe management measures during and after the Circuit Breaker. In the longer term, operators should take into consideration these additional measures and safeguards, and build these costs in accordingly, in order to maintain a COVID-Safe environment for staff and children.
8. Together, we can keep our preschools safe.
1The Association of Early Childhood & Training Services
2See Annex B for more information on measures that facilitate safe management practices in centres, and the Government support for which they are eligible.
3AOP and POP centres are funded up to a lower cap, as they continue to receive operating grants from ECDA, which could help fund some of these safe management measures.
Early Childhood Development Agency
FAQs on COVID-Safe Preschools Fund
1) Which centres are eligible to receive funding support?
All ECDA-licensed preschools (kindergartens and child care centres) as well as EIPIC and PPIP centres are eligible for the support under the COVID-Safe Preschools Fund.
2) Can my HQ/head office apply for funding for multiple centres via a single application form? Will this affect funding eligibility?
You may submit a single application form for multiple centres which are subject to the same funding cap i.e. either $500 for AOP/POP centres or $1,000 for non-AOP/POP centres, EIPC, and PIPP centres. Due to the different funding caps, the applications for AOP/POP centres should be submitted separately from the applications for non-AOP/POP centres, EIPC, and PPIP centres.
For single application submitted for multiple centres subject to the same funding cap, the AOP/POP status of the applicant, and all centres that are part of the application, should be declared within section A. The centres at which the tools/equipment will be implemented must be indicated in section B. Funding eligibility will not be affected by choosing to submit claims for multiple centres in a single application – i.e. you will be able to claim reimbursement for 90% of cost of purchased products, up to the applicable funding cap per centre.
In cases where the invoices apply to both AOP/POP and non-AOP/POP centres, and the costs of items in the invoices cannot be easily apportioned to the centres (e.g. bulk purchases by HQ/head office), please contact ECDA at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that we can advise you on your application.
3) Are there limits to the quantity of tools/equipment for which each centre can seek funding support?
No, there is no limit to the number of tools (e.g. automated hand sanitisers) that each centre can claim support for. Applicants will be assessed for funding support up to 90% of total invoices for purchased equipment, up to the following caps:
$1,000 per centre for all non-AOP/POP preschools as well as all EIPIC and PPIP centres
$500 per centre for all AOP and POP centres.
4) Where can we purchase funding-eligible supporting tools/equipment? Does the government have a list of suppliers we can go to?
Please see Annex A on the types of supporting tools for which centres may receive support under the COVID-Safe Preschools Fund. ECDA does not maintain a list of suppliers or vendors that offer these types of tools. Centres may liaise directly with suppliers, or use bulk purchasing websites, such as EzMart (at www.ezmart.sg) hosted by the Association of Early Childhood & Training Services (ASSETS) to purchase/order the necessary supporting tools.
5) Can thermometers be claimed under the COVID-Safe Practices Fund?
Thermometers do not fall within the five categories of tools/equipment supported by the fund. Preschools should already have thermometers for temperature taking normally. However, preschools can apply for funding support under other Government grants to adopt temperature screening tools and systems. Please refer to Annex B (at https://go.gov.sg/safe-preschools-fund) for the range of tools supported by the various Government grants.
6) Can I apply for funding for sanitisers and soaps that are not automated? The sanitisers and soaps I have purchased are not on NEA’s list. Can I still apply for funding for them?
Yes, you may apply for funding for all sanitisers and soaps. However, we encourage you to make use of this funding to adopt automated, contactless sanitiser and soap dispensers, so as to further facilitate COVID-Safe Behaviours in centres.
Sanitisers and soaps need not be listed in NEA’s Interim List, which is focused on disinfectants for cleaning of surfaces (not skin), to be eligible for funding. Nevertheless, we advise you to perform the necessary checks with your supplier to ensure the products you purchase serve their purpose.
7)Should I include GST when indicating the purchase prices of tools/equipment for which I am submitting claims?
For non GST-registered preschools, please include GST when indicating the purchase prices of tools/equipment bought.
GST-registered preschools may include GST when applying for this fund, in which case you would also have to declare that that you will not submit claims for GST incurred (input tax) from IRAS for the purchases that are the subject of this application.
GST-registered preschools which do not wish to include GST in applying for this fund are to indicate as such in the Annex to Declaration of this application (in section A2 of the application form). GST-registered preschools who opt to exclude GST in the application may submit claims for GST incurred (input tax) from IRAS for the purchases that are the subject of this application.
8) What is the procedure for the reimbursement?
Centres need to submit their claims together with the original invoices and relevant documents, using the ECDA’s COVID-Safe Preschools Fund application form. Applications must be submitted by 14 July 2020.
9) I have purchased supporting tools/equipment prior to the announcement of the fund. Will I be entitled to the funding support?
This fund is available to centres which purchased eligible supporting tools from 7 Apr 2020 to 14 July 2020. Centres are encouraged to submit the claims as soon as possible by 14 July 2020, to allow sufficient time for processing and reimbursement.
10) Will I be able to claim delivery and maintenance for the tools/equipment purchased?
No, these costs should be borne by the centre.
11) Will I still be allowed to make a claim if my expenditure exceeds the funding cap?
Applicants may submit claims for expenditures above the cap, but will only receive funding support up to 90% of total invoices for purchased tools/equipment, up to the appropriate funding cap.
12) Is the purchase of supporting tools/equipment compulsory?
It is not mandatory for centres to purchase supporting tools/equipment through this Fund, if centres have their own sources/means or do not need funding.
13) What supporting documents do I need to submit for my application to the COVID-Safe Preschools Fund?
Along with the COVID-Safe Preschools Fund application form, you will need to submit the proof of payment (e.g. receipt) and proof of delivery (e.g. delivery order to preschool/ pictures of products in preschool) together with the application.
14) I have submitted the softcopy version of the application form to ECDA. Do I need to follow up with a hardcopy version?
No. Please only submit either a softcopy application (recommended), or a hardcopy application. You do not need to submit a hardcopy application form if you have already submitted your softcopy application to ECDA.
Please do note that upon receiving your softcopy application (via email) or hardcopy (via mail), ECDA will send you an acknowledgement of receipt. If you have submitted your application, but have not received an acknowledgement from ECDA within 2 working days, please email email@example.com to confirm the receipt of softcopy or hardcopy documents.
Possible tools/equipment supported by COVID-Safe Preschools Fund
• Preschools and Early Intervention (EI) centres may choose to adopt the tools/equipment listed in this Annex to facilitate the implementation of the COVID-Safe Behaviours under the COVID-Safe ABCs framework.
• The following tools/equipment are eligible for funding support under ECDA’s COVID-Safe Preschools Fund:
• ECDA is also working with the Association of Early Childhood & Training Services (ASSETS) to make available such tools for preschools to order and purchase in ASSETS’ bulk purchasing portal, EzMart (at www.ezmart.sg).
• ECDA does not maintain a list of suppliers or vendors that offer these types of tools. Centres may liaise directly with suppliers, or use bulk purchasing websites, such as EzMart (hosted by ASSETS) to purchase/order the necessary supporting tools.
1As applications of disinfectant by handheld misters and electrostatic sprayers are not adequate on their own, and should only be used to supplement a wipe-down. See NEA’s Advisory on Surface Cleaning and Disinfection for COVID-19 Virus.
2As NEA has not received any robust scientific evidence to support effectiveness, or the long-lasting effect of auto-misters and surface coating against coronaviruses. See NEA’s Advisory on Surface Cleaning and Disinfection for COVID-19 Virus.
3As NEA has yet to find evidence that affirms effectiveness of these solutions for general disinfection purposes. Furthermore, they must only be executed by trained professionals, as the processes are complex and accidental exposure can cause harm. See NEA’s Advisory on Surface Cleaning and Disinfection for COVID-19 Virus.
• Preschools and Early Intervention (EI) centres may choose to adopt the measures and tools listed in this Annex to facilitate the implementation of the COVID-Safe Access under the COVID-Safe ABCs framework.
• Centres may apply for Government support to adopt these measures such as via the Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG). Visit www.smeportal.sg/content/tech-depot/en/psg.html for more details.
• Centres may also apply for Government support to adopt IT solutions that optimise resources and improve productivity under NCSS’ VWOs - Charities Capability Fund (VCF) - Innovation and Productivity Grant (IPG). Visit www.ncss.gov.sg/NCSS/media/VCF/Grants.html for more details.
• The following tools are not eligible for funding support under ECDA’s COVID-Safe Preschools fund.
1ECDA collaborated with ASSETS and the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to introduce SMART Solutions for preschools to aid their day-to-day processes and streamline administrative duties for educators, since 2017. The 4 SMART Solutions vendors have been endorsed by ECDA, ASSETS and IMDA to provide an integrated package of IT solutions that support administrative processes in preschools.
Appendix 1: SMART Solutions
Appendix 2: IMDA pre-approved temperature screening solutions
Click here for Advisory for Preschools.