About 6,000 pre-school staff have undergone precautionary Covid-19 swab tests

Pre-school staff waiting to get tested for Covid-19 at Temasek Polytechnic on May 17, 2020. PHOTO: DESMOND LEE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Around 6,000 pre-school staff have undergone precautionary tests for Covid-19 so far, said Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee on Sunday (May 17).

Some 30,000 pre-school and early intervention staff will undergo the one-time swab test by May 26, as part of measures to prepare for the reopening of pre-schools.

Mr Lee, who visited a testing centre at Temasek Polytechnic on Sunday, said in a Facebook post that his ministry is assessing the situation and hopes to be able to make an announcement on whether general services at pre-schools will resume on June 2, after circuit breaker measures end.

"The tests will help safeguard the health and well-being of our pre-school community, and give peace of mind to the staff, their families and parents of pre-school children," he said.

In a separate Facebook post on Sunday, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who also visited the testing centre at Temasek Polytechnic, said that "operations was functioning like clockwork".

Each station can test around 30 staff per hour - or about one test every two minutes, he noted.

Mr Ong thanked pre-school staff for going through with the discomfort of undergoing swab tests as well as healthcare workers doing the testing in his post.

He noted that it is a good precaution for them to be tested as they work in close contact with very young children and the test results would provide reassurance to staff, their families, as well as the families of pre-school pupils.

On the first day of testing, which started on Friday (May 15), long queues were seen at Khatib MRT station. This was because some pre-school staff turned up hours ahead of their scheduled test slots.

A scheduling issue involving one of the pre-school operators also contributed to the long line, the Ministry of Social and Family Development said.

The tests for pre-school staff are on top of other measures such as restricting visitors and temperature screenings which have been in place since January and will continue to apply when the centres reopen.

Those required to be tested include principals, teachers and educarers, who are those who look after infants and toddlers, as well as non-programme staff like cleaners and cooks, and relief and new staff starting work in June.

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