Forum: No longer necessary to close pre-schools with current Covid-19 measures

We refer to Ms Nur Hafizah Hamir's letter, "Parents with young kids need help during these unprecedented times" (Feb 28).

We recognise parents' concerns when their pre-school child has Covid-19 or is identified as a close contact of a confirmed case.

Covid-19 measures for pre-schools are in line with national health protocols, and aim to balance child safety and parents' childcare needs.

Children or staff with Covid-19 may return to their pre-schools after 72 hours if they have a negative antigen rapid test (ART) result and are well. Those who are well but continue to test positive may return to their pre-schools after 12pm on Day 7.

Close contacts of a confirmed case will be issued a health risk notice (HRN) for five days and are allowed to return to their pre-schools if they have a negative ART result for the day.

Children who are unable to take an ART will be placed on leave of absence for the period.

As most pre-school children are ineligible for vaccination, these measures are necessary to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

With these measures, it is no longer necessary to close pre-schools to curb transmission. While we want to keep our pre-schools safe, we also want our children to continue to learn and play, and to minimise disruption to parents' caregiving needs.

The Ministry of Manpower has advised employers to extend flexibility to employees who need to stay home with their children, and work out an amicable arrangement.

To support lower-income families, ART kits have been distributed to all social service offices and family service centres. Those who receive an HRN can collect ART kits from vending machines listed at the website.

Keeping our pre-school community safe is a collective social responsibility and we encourage parents to play their part.

Children who are unwell should return to their pre-schools only when they have fully recovered.

We also encourage parents to register their children who are five years and older, and medically eligible, for Covid-19 vaccination to better protect them.

We will continue to review and adjust Covid-19 measures in consultation with the Ministry of Health to ensure the health and well-being of children and staff in our pre-schools.

Bernadette Alexander

Director, Regulation and Standards

Early Childhood Development Agency

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