28 May 2020

Dear Parents,

COVID-Safe ABCs - Back to School with Our New ABCs

Let’s Stay Safe Together

   On 19 May 2020, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce outlined plans to exit the Circuit Breaker measures. It was then announced that preschools and Early Intervention centres will start to reopen in phases from 2 June 2020, to allow young children to continue learning and to support parents as they return to work. A key priority is to ensure that we reopen in a safe manner that minimises the risk of transmission for children and staff in preschools.

Phased Reopening of Preschools from 2 June 2020

2.   From 2 June 2020, preschools will begin to resume general services in the following phases, to support parents who are ready to send their children back to preschools.

      • From 2 June: Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2 children

      • From 8 June: Nursery 1 and Nursery 2 children

      • From 10 June: Infant Care and Playgroup children

3.  The phased reopening within early June is to ensure that staff, children and parents follow the enhanced safe management measures which we refer to as COVID-Safe ABCs”. It will also ease the transition for the children. Thus, we seek your cooperation to follow the schedule for your child’s return to the preschool.

4.  We recognise that some parents may have to return to work before their child’s level is reopened and cannot find alternative care. In such instance, parents may discuss with the preschool to arrange for their child to return earlier as an exception. For children who are currently on the Limited Service, they would be allowed to continue from 2 June 2020.

5. To minimise the risk of transmission across centres, supplementary programmes such as enrichment and early intervention services where providers may move across different centres and classes remain suspended. We are closely monitoring the situation and will advise when it is safe to resume these activities.

COVID-Safe ABCs for Safer Preschools​

6. Since late January 2020, we have progressively stepped up precautionary measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in preschools. As we move out of the Circuit Breaker, all preschools will be required to adhere to enhanced safe management measures (referred to as “COVID-Safe ABCs”) to safeguard the wellbeing of preschool children and staff:

    a. COVID-Safe Access is about restricting entry of individuals who may pose a higher risk of transmission to safeguard the wellbeing of children and staff in preschools (e.g. restriction of visitors, steped-up health checks).

    b. COVID-Safe Behaviours is about cultivating the right norms and habits among staff, children and parents to reduce the risk of transmission (e.g. wearing of masks or face shields, carrying out activities in small groups within each class, increased cleaning of premises and equipment, good personal hygiene).

   ​c. COVID-Safe Classrooms is about adopting classroom management strategies to minimise interaction between different classes to reduce the risk of widespread transmission within a preschool (e.g. no cross deployment of staff, keeping staff and children within their own areas, staggering drop-off and pick-ups).

7. To instill COVID-Safe ABCs into the daily routines of staff and children, we have called for preschools and EI centres to dedicate at least the first two weeks of reopening to strengthen public health awareness and build a culture of COVID-Safe habits among staff and children. This will be prioritised over resumption of the normal curriculum. We seek your understanding that there will be adjustments to timetables during the initial weeks.

Support from Parents for COVID-Safe ABCs

8. All of us play an important part in keeping our preschool community safe. It is important that all staff, children and parents adopt COVID-Safe habits and norms to reduce the risk of transmission when preschools reopen. We seek the support of parents to work together with your child’s preschool in the implementation of the following safety measures:

    a. COVID-Safe Access

        ☑ Tighter health checks and temperature screening

       • Health checks and temperature screening will be conducted for all children and staff on entry and several times a day. The health checks will look for general signs of children feeling unwell, beyond fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, and shortness of breath.1

         • Any child or staff who is unwell will not be allowed into the preschool. Those who become unwell during the course of the day will be immediately isolated and asked to leave.

       • Parents are advised to seek medical attention promptly if their child is unwell and avoid clinic hopping. Children should stay at home to rest and return to the preschool only when fully recovered.

        • Children/Staff with adult household members who have fever and/or flu-like symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath are encouraged to stay home, if possible.

        ☑ Restriction of staff and child in preschools – Quarantine Order / Leave of Absence / Stay-Home Notice

             • Staff and children on Quarantine Order (QO), Leave of Absence (LOA) and Stay-Home Notices (SHN) will not be allowed to enter the preschool.

        ☑ Restriction of visitors in preschools

        • Parents and visitors are not allowed into the preschool premises. Parent –teacher meetings are to be carried out via teleconferences or online engagements (e.g. video conferencing).

    b. COVID-Safe Behaviours

        ☑ Wearing of masks or face shields

           • All staff and children aged 2 years and older should wear masks2 or face shields. This is not required for children below the age of 2 years for safety reasons.

           • 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.

             • Preschools have been advised to exercise flexibility when working with children to wear masks.

             • There may be times during the day where it may not be practical or safe for children to wear masks or face shields such as meals and nap time.

             • Parents should ensure that children bring and wear their masks/face shields to preschool, and work with the preschool to teach childrenthe proper use, cleaning, handling and disposal of masks/face shields.

        ☑ Practise good personal hygiene

            • Teach children to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and to throw away the tissue immediately into a bin;

            • Teach children to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth;

          • Wash hands frequently with soap, especially before eating or handling food, after toilet visits, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing; and

           • Avoid sharing of food/drinks, utensils, toothbrushes/towels and other equipment/materials as far as possible.

    c. COVID-Safe Classrooms

        ☑ Safe distancing at drop-off and pick-up

            • Stagger drop-off and pick-up time to reduce interactions among people during arrival and dismissal. We encourage parents who are working from home to drop off and pick up your child during non-peak hours.

            • Parents are to keep a safe distance, and to not mingle with other parents.

            • Parents should also avoid long conversations with preschool staff at the drop-off/pick-up points. Parents can dialogue with staff via phone/email.

        ☑ Safe distancing outside of school

       • We encourage parents to avoid social gathering for children across different classes outside of the preschool to reduce the risk of widespread transmission.

Back to School with Our New ABCs: Public Education Initiative

9.   ECDA understands that instilling these COVID-Safe ABCs into the daily routines and habits of children, staff and parents is a major effort. We will support preschools and parents in this effort by embarking on a COVID-Safe ABCs: Back to School with Our New ABCs public education initiative. As part of this initiative, we will do the following:

     • Back to School with Our New ABCs infographics. A set of infographics has been produced to make the COVID-Safe ABC measures easy to understand and remember. One infographic is tailored for adults and another for children. The infographics can now be downloaded from go.gov.sg/BackToSchoolABCs.

     • Back to School ABCs jingle. A jingle will be released from 2 June 2020 so​ that preschools can engage children in sing-along to better recall the key COVID-Safe ABC measures. Parents and preschools can download the music video and sing-along versions to have a fun singing session with your child at home from go.gov.sg/BackToSchoolABCs.

      • COVID-Safe #15dayABC Challenge. ECDA will call for preschools to encourage children to participate in #15dayABC Challenge for kids upon their return to preschool, so that they actively practise the COVID-Safe ABC measures daily and translate them into habits.

10.  In addition to the above activities, preschools have been encouraged to also design programmes and activities during the first two weeks of reopening to focus on inculcating and familiarising the staff, children and their parents on the COVID-Safe ABCs safe measures.

Keeping COVID-Safe Together

11.  We seek parents’ understanding if some of these COVID-Safe ABCs measures cause inconvenience. They are necessary safety precautions during these exceptional times, and we thank everyone for their cooperation. We also seek parents’ help to reinforce safe habits with children at home, so that children practise these habits consistently.

12.  With increased community and work interactions after Circuit Breaker, we must expect some new COVID-19 cases despite our COVID-Safe ABCs measures and preschools’ best efforts. Our priority is to be able to detect and contain any confirmed cases quickly, and prevent new clusters from forming. We seek parents’ understanding and support if we need to implement any measure that may affect your preschool or child’s class as a result.

13. I would like to take this opportunity to thank community partners such as Temasek Foundation for supporting our effort to keep preschools safe. Temasek Foundation has donated face shields, oximeters and sanitisers to some 30,000 staff and 180,000 children in preschools and early intervention centres. Staff and children would receive these progressively over the next 2 weeks. We hope that staff and children will make good use of these resources to keep themselves and others safe. A letter from Temasek Foundation explaining more about their donation can be found in Annex B​.

14.  Everyone plays a part to keep our preschools safe. Let’s stay safe together by inculcating the COVID-Safe ABCs as a new way of life.

Jamie Ang

Chief Executive

Early Childhood Development Agency​​​


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


 ​

There have been some reported cases overseas of children being affected by Kawasaki-like disease with possible link to COVID-19. MOH has advised doctors to look out for these symptoms when children seek medical treatment. Accordingly, preschools have been advised to look out for general signs of children who are unwell, beyond typical COVID-19 symptoms.​

2 From 26 May to 14 June, residents with a valid identification card with barcode can collect one reusable mask each. There are two types available – a kid size mask for those aged 12 years and below, and an adult size mask.

 ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Back to Top