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Preschools may allow parents of newly-enrolled children to enter premises from Aug 19

SINGAPORE – Parents of newly enrolled pre-schoolers may be allowed to enter the schools’ premises, starting from Thursday (Aug 19), said the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) on Monday.

But this is subject to safe management measures such as a cap of only one parent in a class on any given day. The parent accompanying the newly enrolled child must also be vaccinated or take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) before entry, said ECDA, which manages the early childhood education sector in Singapore.

This loosening of safe management rules in pre-schools come as Singapore begins to ease its Covid-19 control measures, such as allowing dining-in at eateries with certain conditions.

Ecda also said in its statement that pre-schools will also come under the “vaccinate or regular test” regime.

From Oct 1, unvaccinated pre-school staff will have to undergo an ART test twice a week.

“For the small group of pre-school staff that remains medically ineligible for vaccines, the Government will subsidise their tests,” said the agency.

Ecda said a majority of pre-school staff are already fully vaccinated or have taken their first dose.

It also said that pre-schools will continue to be vigilant and adhere to strict safe management measures.

These include restricting visitors, ensuring good personal and environmental hygiene among children and staff, and ensuring that the children interact only within their respective classes.

As Singapore moves towards living with the coronavirus as an endemic disease and more activities resume in the community, Covid-19 cases in pre-schools are to be expected despite safe management measures and best efforts from the schools, said Ecda.

“For children, international experience and data on Covid-19 infections have thus far shown that the disease outcome is less severe as compared to older adults and the elderly,” it added.

“While we have been fortunate that in Singapore, we have so far observed mild disease for our children who have been infected, we are mindful that a child with underlying conditions may become severely ill when infected and we must remain vigilant.”

The agency said it is adopting a more targeted approach in its ring-fencing in the event of a confirmed case, to minimise disruptions to children and families.

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Ecda urged parents to seek medical attention promptly if their child is unwell.

They are also encouraged to keep their children at home if they have household members who are unwell.

“Ecda will continue to monitor the situation and ease measures in pre-schools in line with the national posture,” it said.

In a separate statement responding to The Straits Times’ queries, the agency said that 15 children and a staff member were among the cases in the cluster at pre-school My First Skool in Chin Swee Road.

The cluster was first identified on Aug 12, and has grown to 31 cases as of Sunday (Aug 15).

“Of the 15 affected children, more than half tested positive while in quarantine and the majority live near the pre-school centre,” said Ecda.

The agency said that the staff member, who is fully vaccinated, and the children are reported to have mild or no symptoms.

It did not elaborate on the remaining 15 cases in the cluster. ST has contacted the Ministry of Health for details on them.

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