No positive Covid-19 cases yet in pre-school testing

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

No pre-school and early intervention staff have tested positive for the coronavirus so far in mass testing ahead of the sector's reopening.

Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said yesterday that some 8,500 staff have been swabbed as of Sunday, and are in the process of being tested. "As of now, we've not got any positive cases, but given that we are going to swab some 30,000 staff, we do expect that there might be some cases," he said.

All pre-school staff must undergo a one-time swab test for Covid-19 as a precautionary measure before the centres reopen next month.

The exercise, which started last Friday, is scheduled to be completed by the end of this month.

In a statement yesterday, the Early Childhood Development Agency said: "During this proactive testing of all staff, we expect some positive cases to be identified. In such cases, we will work with affected pre-schools and early intervention centres to adjust their staffing or reopen later when it is safe to do so."

The agency said it will consider a risk-based testing system to protect children and staff after services fully resume.

Under such a system, staff and children returning from stay-home notice, for example, may have to undergo testing before returning to the centre.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 20, 2020, with the headline No positive Covid-19 cases yet in pre-school testing. Subscribe