​24 September 2021​

Dear Parents/ Guardians,

KEEPING OUR PRESCHOOLS COVID-19 RESILIENT TOGETHER

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) has announced safe management measures (SMMs) from 27 September 2021 through 24 October 2021 to slow down community transmissions and allow time for Singapore’s overall healthcare and response capacity to be appropriately augmented. MTF will review the measures two weeks after implementation and adjust these based on the community situation then. Please refer to the press release for more details: https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/stabilising-our-covid-19-situation-and-protecting-our-overall-healthcare-capacity_24September2021

2     The Ministry of Education (MOE) has also extended Home-Based Learning (HBL) for all Primary and Special Education (SPED) schools so that children will be away from schools for the next 2 weeks. Private Education Institutions (PEIs) must also implement HBL for all students aged 12 years and below from 27 September 2021 to 10 October 2021, although preschool services in PEIs may remain open. During this period, in-person tuition and enrichment classes for students aged 12 and below must pivot online or otherwise be suspended.

Keeping preschools open for parents that require the support

3     During this period, preschools and student care centres will remain open to support parents who need to work. As work-from-home will be the default mode at workplaces, we encourage parents to keep your children at home during this period where possible. This is especially when children have underlying medical conditions which include:

•    Congenital heart disease
•    Chronic lung disease
•    Chronic liver disease
•    Chronic kidney disease
•    Chronic neurologic disease
•    Active cancer
•    Immunosuppression
•    Diabetes
•    Genetic metabolic disease
•    Blood disorders (e.g. severe anaemia/thalassemia)

4     To support families that keep their children at home during this period, ECDA and MSF will automatically waive the minimum 1-day attendance requirement for disbursement of preschool subsidies/KiFAS and Child Care Financial Assistance (CCFA) for September and October 2021. Please note that the rest of the qualifying requirements will still apply. Parents may refer to: https://go.gov.sg/2021preschoolhbl for resources shared by various operators that can be used to engage your children at home. These resources will be increased over time.

Tightening our COVID-Safe ABCs at preschools

5     To reduce the risk of transmission in preschools, we will further tighten SMMs at preschools for this period from 27 September 2021. We recognise that these revised measures may inconvenience families but seek your understanding that they are necessary to protect our children and staff in the preschool community. In the upcoming weeks, it is important that everyone is extra vigilant and takes all necessary precautions against the spread of COVID-19 infections in Singapore. The key measures that will be tightened are:

a.   Visitors into preschools

From 27 September to 24 October 2021, only visitors, who are needed to support the running of preschools (e.g. contractors) and those who need to perform necessary functions (e.g. licensing officers) may enter the premises. All parents, including parents of newly enrolled children, will not be allowed to enter the premises.

b.   Supplementary programmes

In line with the MOE’s announcement to move enrichment classes online from 27 September to 10 October 2021, preschools will be required to move all enrichment programmes online or suspended until 10 October 2021 (or further notice). This is to reduce the risk of transmission within the preschool and across preschools.

We recognise that supplementary programmes which serve children with additional needs are especially important. Thus, the Focused Language Assistance in Reading (FLAiR), Development Support and Learning Support (DS-LS) and Development Support-Plus (DS-Plus) may therefore continue in-person programmes, subject to tighter restrictions.

c.   Leave of Absence requirements

To ringfence any potential transmission early and minimise the formation of large clusters in preschools, the Leave of Absence (LOA) measures will be tightened (see Annex for more details):

[Tightened] For child/ staff with any household member who is unwell with flu-like symptoms.

As many of the cases in preschools so far have arisen due to household transmissions, a child/staff with household members (aged 6 years and above) who are unwell (with fever and/ or flu-like symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath) will be placed on LOA. The child may return to the preschool after the unwell household member is tested negative for COVID-19 (either Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) or Antigen Rapid Test (ART)).

[Tightened] For child/ staff with household members who test positive via an Antigen Rapid Test (ART).

From 27 September 2021, a staff/ child with household members who tested positive on an ART will be placed on a LOA and return to preschool only after the household member has tested negative on a PCR test or ART.

Note: A preschool staff/ child who tests positive on an ART should continue to visit a Swab and Send Home (SASH) clinic immediately for follow up and take a PCR test. This applies to both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals. Affected staff/ child may return to preschool only after they receive a negative PCR test and have fully recovered (i.e. no longer displaying symptoms).

[Tightened] For children/ staff who are on Quarantine Order

From 11 September 2021, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has reduced the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 days from the date of last exposure to a COVID-19 case.

Staff and children under quarantine may return to the preschool on Day 11 at the end of their quarantine period, if they test negative for their exit swab and can undergo daily ART from Day 11 to Day 14.

Children unable to undergo daily ART swab tests will be issued a LOA and may only return to preschool after Day 14 of their quarantine.

6     To help us detect COVID-19 infections and ring-fence quickly to reduce the risk of widespread transmission within preschools, regular testing using ART will also commence from next week as a useful form of surveillance. As earlier updated, from 1 Oct, all vaccinated staff in preschools will commence regular ART once a week. Unvaccinated staff, including those who are medically ineligible, will be tested twice a week.

Keeping preschools safe is a collective effort

7     We seek the support of parents and guardians to work together with your child’s preschool in the implementation of the enhanced safety measures, to safeguard the health and wellbeing of children and staff. Parents should:

Inform your child’s preschool immediately once your child or any household member:
•    Has tested positive for COVID-19 (be it via ART or PCR)
•    Has been issued with Quarantine Order
•    Has been issued with Stay-Home Notice
•    Has been placed on Leave of Absence or phone surveillance
•    Is undergoing mandatory COVID-19 tests
•    Has been issued with Health Risk Warning or Health Risk Alert

Monitor your child’s health regularly and look out for symptoms such as fever (e.g. body temperature more than 37.5°C) and/or respiratory symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, cough and breathlessness. Self-testing with ART is a quick way to have peace of mind if you are worried about possible contact with a positive COVID-19 case.

Keep your child at home if your child is unwell and see a doctor immediately. Do not self-medicate. Inform your preschool if your child is unwell and only send your child back to preschool when your child’s medical leave period is over, and your child has fully recovered (i.e. no longer displaying symptoms). This is regardless of whether your child has a negative ART result. This is to protect the health and wellbeing of other children and staff in the preschool.

Encourage your child (aged 2 years and older) to wear a mask or face shield for their protection and in the interest of other children/ staff. We understand that some children may have difficulties wearing a mask, for example, children with special needs and younger children. Face shields may be used as an alternative and preschools will exercise flexibility for these children.

8     Let’s stay safe together by playing our part and take the necessary precautions to keep preschools safe and enable our children to learn and thrive. We will continue to review and adjust the measures in line with the national posture for the health and well-being of everyone in the preschool. For information on safe management measures in your child’s preschool, please contact your child’s preschool principal.

Thank you.

Early Childhood Development Agency​​​ ​


 

Annex

Leave of Absence (LOA) Requirements in Preschools



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