SINGAPORE – Kindergartens are tightening their rules for secure management from Thursday (July 22) in line with national guidelines for phase two (raised alert), as large Covid-19 clusters have recently emerged here.
In a letter to parents, the Early Childhood Development Agency (Ecda) said all parents, including those of newly enrolled children, are not allowed to enter preschool classrooms. Enrichment classes are also advised to go online to reduce transfer within and between preschools.
Only visitors necessary to support the operation of kindergartens and those required to perform necessary functions, such as contractors and licensing officers, are allowed to enter the premises.
Children or staff with family members undergoing a mandatory Covid-19 swab test must be placed on leave until the family member’s test results are negative.
This will allow for better shielding given the current heightened concern, Ecda said.
Children or staff who receive a health risk warning from the Department of Health will be granted leave for the duration of the warning and allowed to return to school when they receive a negative Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result by the end of the warning period.
A health risk warning is given to those identified as accidental contact with a Covid-19 case, or who visited specific higher-risk hot spots on the same day as a Covid-19 case.
Children or staff with a family member who has received such a warning will also be placed on leave until the family member gets a negative PCR test result.
If a child or staff member or their family members receive a health risk warning, they may attend preschool if they are healthy.
However, they are strongly encouraged to be tested and to minimize their social interactions for the duration specified by the Ministry of Health.
A health hazard warning is for people who have been identified as having visited hotspots or the surrounding area.
For children or staff with a family member who is unwell with flu-like symptoms, they are strongly encouraged to stay home until the sick family member tests negative for Covid-19.
Ecda also said it recognizes that complementary programs for children with extra needs are particularly important.
The Developmental Support and Learning Support, Developmental Support-Plus and Targeted Language Assistance for Reading programs can therefore continue personal programs, subject to stricter safe control measures.
Preschools may continue to conduct outdoor activities in the public areas near the school. But these should be in small groups of no more than two children, instead of five earlier, in line with the nationwide group size reduction.
Ecda also said that the minimum one-day attendance requirement for the disbursement of preschool grants and Childcare Financial Assistance for July and August will be abolished given the situation.