The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) has released enhanced safe management measures in preschools. This is in response to the added precautions announced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce due to the increase of community cases in Singapore.
The ECDA published the enhanced Covid-19 health and safety guidelines for early childhood centres on their official website on 4 June.
“We recognise that this may inconvenient families and preschools but we seek your understanding that it is important we step up upstream precautions given the increased transmissibility of the new variants and there is currently no vaccine available for young children,” says ECDA.
Health And Safety Guidelines For Early Childhood Centres
Image source: Facebook / Ministry of Education, Singapore
The risk of transmission among preschools as well as families is found to be significant. Especially since children and staff in preschools need to be in close contact for prolonged periods of time within compact premises.
There are already many Covid-19 health and safety guidelines in place for early childhood centres to reduce risks of exposure. Both preschools and early intervention centres issue a Leave of Absence (LOA) to a child or staff staying with a household member on Home Quarantine Order (HQO) or Stay-Home Notice (SHN).
In addition to this, enhanced precautions have been introduced by ECDA that have taken effect since Tuesday (8 June):
1. For when a child or staff member is staying with a household member placed on HQO or SHN
If a household member is serving quarantine or SHN at home, the preschool will issue an LOA for the affected child or staff.They may return to the preschool after their household member has completed serving their quarantine or SHN.
If a household member is still at home waiting for conveyance to a Government Quarantine Facility (GQF) or is already at GQF but has pending test results, the preschool will also issue an LOA for the affected child or staff. They can attend preschool again only after their household member has been conveyed to the GQF and has a negative Covid-19 PCR test result at entry into quarantine.
2. For when a child or staff member is placed on quarantine and was recently in preschool
If the child or staff member recently felt unwell before the start of quarantine or soon feels unwell during this period then the preschool will issue an LOA for the entire class. The class can return to preschools only when the quarantined child or staff member receives a negative Covid-19 PCR test result at entry into quarantine. Parents will be updated on developments and when the class can return.
If the child or staff member was generally well, the preschool will inform parents of such cases. It is also strongly encouraged that children who are in the same class stay at home as much as possible. The student from the same class may return to preschool once the child or staff member in quarantine receives a negative Covid-19 PCR test result at entry.
3. For when a child, staff or household member is undergoing mandatory Covid-19 tests
The preschool will issue an LOA to a child or staff member if they are undergoing mandatory Covid-19 tests. They may return to preschool when they receive a negative Covid-19 PCR test result.
Parents are strongly encouraged to keep their children at home as much as possible if their household member is undergoing the mandatory test. This precaution goes the same for staff members. Children may return to preschool once their household member has tested negative for their Covid-19 PCR test.
ECDA: “Keeping Our Preschools Covid-19 Safe Together”
Image source: iStock
With the rise of infected community cases, ECDA is seeking support of parents to work together in keeping their children safe from the virus. In line with the new health and safety guidelines for early childhood centres, parents are expected to:
1. Immediately inform your child’s preschool if your child or any household member has been:
Issued with Quarantine Order
Issued with SHN
Placed on LOA or phone surveillance
Undergoing mandatory Covid-19 tests
2. Monitor your child’s health regularly. Be on the lookout for symptoms such as a fever or respiratory symptoms including sore throat, runny nose, cough and breathlessness.
3. If your child is feeling unwell, it is advised that you keep them at home and seek a doctor immediately. Parents should refrain from self-medicating their children. They should also inform their preschool if their child is unwell and only send them back when their medical leave period is over or has fully recovered.
4. Encourage your child to wear a mask or face shield if they are aged 2 years and older for their protection as well as the other children and staff’s best interest. Some children may have difficulties with wearing a mask so face shields may be used as an alternative.
“We seek parents’ understanding if some of these measures cause inconvenience. They are necessary safety precautions during these exceptional times, and we thank everyone for their cooperation,” says ECDA in their statement.
The agency adds, “These enhanced measures complement existing safe management measures to ensure that our preschools remain a safe environment for all children and staff. We will continue to review and adjust the measures in line with the national posture for the health and well-being of everyone in the preschool.”
Lead image source Facebook / Ministry of Education, Singapore.