All PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots Preschool centres will be closed for four days from Thursday (26 March), as one more teacher at the Fengshan centre tests positive for COVID-19, bringing the total cases linked to the cluster to 19 cases.
In a statement, an Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) spokesperson said PCF will close all of its 360 centres for four days from Thursday to Sunday, to review its precautionary measures and to clean and disinfect all its premises.
A PCF Sparkletots preschool centre in Yew Tee is one of 360 centres that will be closed for 4 days until 29 March.
The decision comes just days after one teacher at the Fengshan centre tests positive for the virus on Monday (23 March). As of Thursday, 15 staff members were infected with COVID-19, while the remaining 4 cases from the cluster are family members.
Principal, 14 PCF Sparkletots Staff Infected
ECDA confirmed that among the infected employees is the Fengshan centre’s principal. An ECDA spokesperson said the principal was well when she was at work on 17 March but developed symptoms in the afternoon. The principal was said to have had a meeting with her staff and later attended a course with staff from other preschools in the same evening.
The spokesperson said the principal saw a doctor the next morning on 18 March and was on medical leave until last Friday (2o March).
ECDA also said most of the other employees—a mix of both teaching and non-teaching staff—who tested positive began developing symptoms from 20 March and the weekend thereafter.
Four of the principal’s family members, who do not live with her also tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday (23 March) and Tuesday (24 March), ECDA said. Contract tracing by the Ministry of Health (MOH) is ongoing.
Children, Employees at Fengshan Centre To Be Quarantined
The health agency has placed all children and staff present at the Fengshan centre between 16 to 24 March on quarantine, ECDA said in a statement.
The preschool centre at Blk 126 Fengshan will close for two weeks for cleaning and disinfection.
In a statement late Wednesday night, PCF chief executive officer Victor Bay said he was “deeply sorry to all parents who children are enrolled with PCF for the inconvenience caused by the closures.” There are about 40,000 children who attend the PCF’s preschools and care centres affected by the closures.
Some 40,000 children who attend the PCF’s preschools and care centres affected by the closures. | Image source: Facebook
“We are sorry for what has happened… it is regrettable that measures put in place to safeguard the well-being of children and staff were not strictly followed in that centre,” Bay said.
Mr Bay said in a media statement that “an internal committee of inquiry will be formed to investigate the matter and disciplinary action against employees would be taken where warranted.”
“During the period of closure, besides engaging professional cleaning agencies to conduct disinfection, sanitisation and deep-cleaning of all our centres, we will conduct refresher training on health, hygiene and safety practices for our staff,” Mr Bay said.
“We will also review our SOPs to identify any gaps and tighten processes to ensure full compliance,” Mr Bay added.