Keeping our Preschools COVID-19 Safe Together
21 Jul 2021
Dear Parents / Guardians
Keeping Our Preschools COVID-19 Safe Together
In response to the growing COVID-19 clusters emerging around (i) multiple nightlife establishments, (ii) the Jurong Fishery Port (JFP), and (iii) several wet markets and hawker food centres, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) has announced further tightening of community safe management measures to arrest the ongoing community spread.
2 In line with MTF’s shift to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), we will further tighten safe management measures in preschools for the same period from Thursday, 22 July to Wednesday, 18 August 2021 to minimise the transmission of the virus. We recognise that these revised measures may inconvenient 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 of utmost importance that everyone be extra vigilant and take all necessary precautions against the spread of COVID-19 infections in Singapore.
3 Preschools will continue to adhere to strict safe management measures (SMMs) under the COVID-Safe ABCs on Access, Behaviours and Classrooms, and be required to tighten measures in the following areas:
a. Visitors into preschools
From 22 July to 18 August 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, are not allowed to enter the premises.
b. Supplementary programmes
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, preschools have been advised to move all enrichment classes online till the end of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert). This is to reduce the risk of transmission within the preschool and across preschools. If there is a necessity for preschools to continue with in-person enrichment classes, external persons providing such programmes must be limited to physically serve no more than 1 preschool and adhere to SMMs.
We recognise supplementary programmes which serve children with additional needs are especially important. The Development Support and Learning Support (DS-LS), Development Support-Plus (DS-Plus) and Focused Language Assistance in Reading (FLAiR) programmes may therefore continue in-person programmes, subject to tightened SMMs.
c. Leave of Absence requirements
As preschool premises are relatively more compact and children/staff are in contact for a prolonged period, the impact of any transmission on preschools and families is significant. Hence, it is important that we ringfence any potential transmission early to minimise formation of clusters in preschools. In addition to the enhanced Leave of Absence (LOA) measures that were implemented in preschools from 8 June 2021, the following measures will take effect from 22 July 2021:
- For children/ staff with any household member who is required to undergo a mandatory COVID-19 swab test.
From 22 July 2021, children/ staff with household members undergoing a mandatory COVID-19 swab test will be required to be placed on LOA until the household member’s test results return negative. This will allow better ringfencing given the current
- For children/ staff if they or their household member/s receive a “Health Risk Warning” or “Health Risk Alert” notification from the Ministry of Health.
Health Risk Warning (HRW)1
- Children/ staff who are issued a HRW will be placed on LOA for the duration of the HRW. They may return to school when they receive a negative exit polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result.
- Children/ staff with a household member(s) who has been issued with an HRW will be placed on a LOA until the child/ staff household member receives a negative entry polymerase chain reaction
(PCR) test result.
Health Risk Alert (HRA)2
- If a child/staff or any of their household members are issued with HRA, they will be allowed to attend preschool, if well. Children/ staff who receive HRA notifications are strongly encouraged to be tested and minimise their social interactions for
the duration specified by MOH.
- For children/ staff with any household member who is unwell with flu-like symptoms
To minimise transmission risks, from 22 July 2021, children/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) are strongly encouraged to stay home until the unwell household member is tested negative for COVID-19.
4 Preschools may continue to carry out outdoor activities in public spaces within the vicinity of the preschool. However, preschools must now do so in small groups of no more than 2 children instead of 5, in line with the national reduction in group sizes. We seek your understanding that with the tightened measures, some preschools may not have the resources to carry out outdoor activities and will provide alternatives to allow children opportunities for gross motor activities.
5 Activities conducted at external venues (e.g. field trips, learning journeys, swimming) and other large group activities in preschools (e.g. assemblies) will remain suspended until further notice.
Support from Parents/Guardians
6 The fight against COVID-19 requires the collective effort of every single person in the preschool community. We seek the support of parents and guardians to work together with your child’s preschool in the implementation of the enhanced safety measures. Parents should:
☑ Inform your child’s preschool immediately once your child or any household member:
- 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.
☑ Keep your child at home if your child is unwell and see a doctor immediately. Refrain from self-medicating. Inform your preschool if your child is unwell and only send your child back when your child’s medical leave period is over, and your child has fully recovered.
☑ 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.
7 With increased cases in the community, we must expect some COVID-19 cases in preschools despite our COVID-Safe ABC 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 child’s preschool or class as a result.
8 In view of the situation, ECDA and MSF will automatically waive the minimum 1-day attendance requirement for disbursement of preschool subsidies and Child Care Financial Assistance (CCFA) for July and August 2021, to better support families during this period. Please note that the rest of the qualifying requirements will still apply.
9 The recent community cases in Singapore show that we must continue to be vigilant in our fight against COVID-19. Let’s stay safe together by playing our part to keep preschools safe. 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.
10 For information on safe management measures in your child’s preschool, please contact your child’s preschool principal.
Early Childhood Development Agency
1Persons identified to be a casual contact of a COVID-19 case or have visited specific higher-risk hotspots on the same day as a COVID-19 case
2Persons identified to have visited hotspot areas or their vicinity.