SINGAPORE - Pre-schools are tightening their safe management rules from Thursday (July 22), in line with national phase two (heightened alert) guidelines, as large Covid-19 clusters emerged here recently.
In a letter to parents, the Early Childhood Development Agency (Ecda) said all parents, including those of newly enrolled children, will not be allowed to enter pre-school premises. Enrichment classes are also advised to move online to reduce transmission within and across pre-schools.
Only visitors needed to support the running of pre-schools and those who are needed to perform necessary functions, such as contractors and licensing officers, may enter the premises.
Children or staff with household members undergoing a mandatory Covid-19 swab test will be required to be placed on leave of absence until the household member's test results return negative.
This will allow for better ring-fencing, given the current heightened concerns, said Ecda.
Children or staff who receive a health risk warning from the Health Ministry will be put on leave of absence for the duration of the warning, and may return to school when they receive a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test result towards the end of the warning period.
A health risk warning is given to those identified as a casual contact of a Covid-19 case, or who have visited specific higher-risk hot spots on the same day as a Covid-19 case.
Children or staff with a household member who has been issued such a warning will also be placed on leave of absence until the household member receives a negative PCR test result.
If a child or staff member or their household members are issued with a health risk alert, they will be allowed to attend pre-school, if they are well.
However, they are strongly encouraged to be tested and minimise their social interactions for the duration specified by the Health Ministry.
A health risk alert is for people identified to have visited hot-spot areas or the vicinity.
For children or staff with any household member who is unwell with flu-like symptoms, they are strongly encouraged to stay home until the unwell household member tests negative for Covid-19.
Ecda also said it recognises that supplementary programmes which serve children with additional needs are especially important.
The Development Support and Learning Support, Development Support-Plus, and Focused Language Assistance in Reading programmes may therefore continue in-person programmes, subject to tightened safe management measures.
Pre-schools may continue to carry out outdoor activities in public spaces within the vicinity of the school. But these must be in small groups of no more than two children, instead of five previously, in line with the national reduction in group sizes.
Ecda also said that the minimum one-day attendance requirement for disbursement of pre-school subsidies and Child Care Financial Assistance for July and August will be waived, in view of the situation.