1. In line with the shift to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) announced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will further tighten safe management measures (SMMs) in preschools and Early Intervention (EI) centres from Sunday, 16 May to Sunday, 13 June 2021. This is to ensure the continued safety and well-being of our young children and staff.
2. In addition to prevailing COVID-Safe ABCs (i.e. safe management measures on Access, Behaviour and Classrooms), preschools and EI centres will be required to implement the following enhanced measures.
3. To ensure COVID-Safe Access, preschools and EI centres will further restrict admission of external visitors. From 16 May 2021, only persons who are needed to support the centre operations (e.g. for urgent repairs) or perform necessary functions (e.g. for licensing, auditing) will be allowed to enter the preschool premises. Such visitors will be subject to strict SMMs during the visit. All parents, including parents of newly-enrolled children, will not be allowed to enter the preschool premises during this period. Preschools and EI centres are advised to conduct engagements with parents online.
4. For supplementary programmes such as enrichment, Focused Language Assistance in Reading (FLAiR), and Development Support and Learning Support (DS-LS), persons conducting such programmes may only physically serve one preschool. This is to reduce the risk of transmission across preschools. An exception will be allowed for providers of Development Support (DS) Plus programme which serves children with higher developmental needs. DS Plus providers may serve up to 4 places of practice at a time. Supplementary programme providers may also consider online options for delivery, where appropriate.
5. Preschools and EI centres are required to ensure that all staff, children and their parents continue to adopt COVID-Safe behaviours to reduce the risk of transmission. These include the proper wearing of masks, stepped up health and temperature checks (up to three times a day), more frequent hand washing and regular disinfection of high touch areas. All preschool staff are required to wear masks in the preschool. From 16 May 2021, the use of face shields alone (without mask) by preschool staff when conducting lessons will no longer be allowed.
6. From 16 May 2021 to 13 June 2021, preschools will also reduce the group size for outdoor activities from 5 to 2 children from the same class. We recognise that some preschools and EI centres may face operational constraints and have to suspend outdoor activities during this period. Such preschools and EI centres are advised to consider alternatives to provide children with meaningful opportunities for play and to support their gross motor development.
7. From 16 May 2021 to 13 June 2021, EI centres will conduct their sessions in groups of 2 children (revised from 5). During this period, EI centres may provide remote support to children who are unable to attend in-person services in the centre or have lower level of EI support needs.
8. To minimise interaction between children and staff from different classes, preschools and EI centres will continue to segregate the children by their classes and suspend large group activities in preschools and activities at external venues (e.g. field trips, learning journeys). All preschool staff and EI centre teachers will be restricted to serve only one centre.
9. Preschools and EI centres will also be required to continue to conduct all staff meetings and training online. All external training, including child first aid training, will be conducted virtually as well.
Keeping COVID-Safe Together
10. ECDA will be working closely with preschools and EI centres to ensure the implementation of the SMMs for the continued safety and wellbeing of children and staff. This will require the collective support of all providers, preschool and EI staff, parents and children. Parents are encouraged to monitor the health of their children, seek medical attention promptly and not bring their children to the preschools/EI centres if their children feel unwell. Staff are likewise encouraged to seek medical attention promptly if unwell. By working together and staying united, we can continue to safeguard the health and well-being of our preschool and EI community.
1 Centres offering government-funded programmes such as the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) and the Pilot for Private Intervention Providers (PPIP).
2 Existing SMMs include visitor limits, stepped up temperature and health checks (up to 3 times a day), stepped up cleaning regime, mask wearing, and personal hygiene practices, safe distancing and cohorting in centres.
3 Where a person has completed serving all relevant children within a preschool and does not return to it within 16 May to 13 June 2021, such person may move onto another preschool and remain deployed there until completing service at this other preschool.
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (ECDA)