Coronavirus: Singapore

Pre-schoolers with potential exposure to Covid-19 to be placed on leave of absence

Pre-schoolers and pre-school staff with potential exposure to Covid-19 - such as having household members who have been quarantined following close contact with a Covid-19 case - will be placed under more stringent measures from tomorrow.

Announcing the measures in a circular last Friday, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said that a child or staff member with someone in the same household waiting to be taken to a government quarantine facility, or waiting for his Covid-19 test result while under quarantine, will now be placed on leave of absence.

They can return to the pre-school only after the household member has gone to the facility, and has a negative result from a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test when he enters quarantine, it said.

Currently, leave of absence is issued only if a household member is in quarantine or under a stay-home notice (SHN) at home. And the child or employee is allowed to return to the pre-school after the affected household member has completed the quarantine or SHN.

Additionally, leave of absence will be issued for the whole class if a child or pre-school staff member who was recently on the premises was unwell before being quarantined following exposure to a case, or if they became unwell soon after starting quarantine.

The class is allowed to return to the pre-school once the affected pre-schooler or staff member has a negative Covid-19 result when they enter quarantine.

If the quarantined individual is generally well, parents will be informed of such cases, and parents will be strongly encouraged to keep children who are in the same class at home if possible, ECDA added.

On top of that, if a child or pre-school staff member is undergoing mandatory Covid-19 tests because of potential exposure to cases, leave of absence will be issued.

If pre-schoolers' household members have to be tested, parents are strongly encouraged to keep their child at home. They can return once they have a negative Covid-19 result.

In the circular, Ms Jamie Ang, chief executive of ECDA, said the agency recognises that the new arrangements may be inconvenient for families and pre-schools.

She asked for their understanding, given the increased transmissibility of new Covid-19 variants and the lack of vaccines currently approved for young children.

"As pre-school premises are relatively more compact and children or staff are in close contact for a prolonged period, the impact of any transmission on pre-schools and families is significant," she said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 07, 2021, with the headline Pre-schoolers with potential exposure to Covid-19 to be placed on leave of absence. Subscribe