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Statement on confirmed COVID-19 cases at PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Fengshan Blk 126

1   As previously reported, a Nursery 2 teacher from PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Fengshan tested positive for COVID-19 on 23 March 2020. As she was last present in the centre on 18 March 2020 and was well at the time, ECDA and MOH decided that there was no need to close the centre, but instead allowed the centre to close for a day for thorough cleaning and disinfection.

2   However, on 24 March 2020, ECDA and MOH found other staff reporting that they had recently felt unwell. As a precaution, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) closed the centre for 14 days from 24 March to 7 April 2020, and the Ministry of Health (MOH) sent these staff immediately for testing.

3   Today, 25 March 2020, 13 more centre staff, including teaching and non-teaching staff, tested positive for COVID-19. This is in addition to the Nursery 2 teacher who tested positive on 23 March.

4   Among the 14 staff who tested positive for COVID-19 is the centre principal. She was well when she was at work on 17 March 2020, but developed symptoms in the afternoon. On that day, she had a meeting with her staff, and later attended a course with other preschool staff in the evening. The principal saw a doctor the next morning on 18 March 2020 and was on medical leave until 20 March 2020. Most of the other staff who tested positive began developing symptoms from 20 Mar 2020 and over the weekend.

5   Four of the principal's family members, who do not stay with her, were also confirmed positive on 23 March and 24 March 2020. Contact tracing by MOH is ongoing.

6   To safeguard the health and well-being of the staff and children in the preschool, ECDA closed the centre from 24 March 2020 to 7 April 2020. MOH has also placed all children and staff who were present at the Centre between 16 March 2020 and 24 March 2020 on quarantine. ECDA is closely monitoring the situation, and working with the management, staff, parents and children at PCF Sparkletots Preschool @ Fengshan Blk 126 to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all.

7   PCF will also be closing all of its centres from 26 March 2020 to 29 March 2020 to review and reiterate its enhanced precautionary measures with staff as well as to undertake cleaning and disinfection of all their premises.

8   The health and safety of children is of utmost importance to ECDA. Since January 2020, ECDA has been working closely with preschool operators to put in place enhanced precautionary measures in preschools. These include restriction of visitors, suspension of large group and communal activities as well as excursions and field trips, health checks and stepped up temperature screening for all children and teacher. Preschool staff have been consistently advised to seek immediate medical attention and stay away from the preschool if they do not feel well. Preschool operators were also advised to limit the deployment of staff across different centres, where possible. Safe distancing measures have also been steadily introduced with the latest announcements on 24 March.

9   All preschools are reminded to be vigilant when conducting health checks, and to observe high standards of personal and environmental hygiene. This includes keeping the centre environment clean, and frequent washing of hands with soap - especially before eating or handling food, after toilet visits, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing.

10  The precautionary measures that have been put in place in preschools are only effective if the preschool community work together and exercise social responsibility. All preschool staff and children who are unwell (i.e. have fever and/or flu-like symptoms such as runny nose, cough, shortness of breath) should seek immediate medical attention and return to school only when fully recovered.

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