In line with the Phase 3 – Heightened Alert stance from 8 May to 30 May 2021 announced by the Multi-Ministry Taskforce, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) will enhance safe management measures (SMMs) in preschools and Early Intervention (EI) centres1 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 Classrooms2), preschools and EI centres will be required to implement the following enhanced measures from 8 May 2021 to 30 May 2021.
3. To ensure COVID-Safe Access, preschools and EI centres will further restrict entry of visitors. From 8 May to 30 May 2021, preschools and EI centres will be required to further restrict admission of external visitors to only those needed to support the centre operations, those performing necessary functions such as licensing and parents accompanying newly enrolled children. Such visitors will be subject to strict SMMs during the visit. All other parents will be restricted from entering the premises. Preschools and EI centres are advised to conduct parent-teacher conferences online. For prospective students, preschools and EI centres are encouraged to tap on alternatives such as virtual tours with parents.
4. For supplementary programmes such as enrichment, preschools will be required to ensure that persons conducting such programmes serve no more than four preschools during this period. This will help to reduce the risk of transmission across centres. In recognition of the added support required for children with developmental needs, an exception will be allowed for providers of Development Support-Learning Support programme and Development Support Plus programme.
5. Preschools and EI centres are currently required to ensure that all staff, children and their parents 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.
6. From 8 May to 30 May 2021, preschools will be required to tighten the movement of staff and children. Children can only participate in activities within their own class and in small groups, with no mixing of children across classes. EI centres will conduct their sessions within groups of 5 children (revised from 8), aligned with the national guidelines. Preschools and EI centres may continue to conduct outdoor activities during this period but will do so in smaller groups, in line with the national reduction in group sizes.
7. To minimise interaction between children and staff from different classes, preschools and EI centres will temporarily suspend large group activities and activities at external venues (e.g. field trips, learning journeys). Preschools and EI centres which have already made plans for activities at external venues are advised to postpone them.
8. Preschools will also be required to conduct all staff meetings and training online. Where online delivery of classes is not immediately possible, the classes will be rescheduled. Face-to-face external training may continue only limited courses such as the hands-on aspect of child first aid training.
Implementation of TraceTogether-Only SafeEntry
9. In tandem with the national roll-out, TraceTogether-only SafeEntry will be implemented in preschools and EI centres from 17 May 2021. Visitors and staff must check in using their TT token or app to be allowed entry into the preschool or EI centre, and must have their TT token or app with them throughout. Children under 7 years old are not required to use TT.
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 them to the preschools/EI centres if their children feel unwell. Staff are likewise encouraged to seek medical attention promptly. 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.
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (ECDA)