About 10,000 children return to pre-schools during COVID-19 circuit breaker period: ECDA

About 10,000 children return to pre-schools during COVID-19 circuit breaker period: ECDA

Generic preschool image. Photo: TODAY (1)
An early childhood educator with her students. (File Photo: TODAY)

SINGAPORE: About 10,000 pre-schoolers in Singapore are tapping on the limited services of pre-schools during the COVID-19 "circuit breaker” period, said the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) on Thursday (Apr 16).

This is about 5 per cent of all children enrolled in pre-schools in Singapore, said ECDA.

As part of circuit breaker measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, all pre-schools, kindergartens and student care centres have to suspend their general services for about one month until May 4.

They remain open only to provide limited services for children of parents who work in essential services such as healthcare and cannot find alternative care arrangements.

The 10,000 children are spread across more than 1,200 pre-schools across Singapore, said an ECDA spokesperson in response to CNA queries. Some of them require the limited service only on certain days or periods, the spokesperson added.

READ: 'Right time' to close schools now, says Education Minister Ong Ye Kung

To avoid any potential COVID-19 transmission across centres, children who qualify for the limited service have to return to their existing pre-schools, said the spokesperson. Both staff and children are also not allowed to move across different centres.

For centres that remain open, only staff members that are required for the limited services should return to the centre, the spokesperson said.

“This can include some minimal staff for planning of lessons. The rest of the pre-school staff should telecommute during this circuit breaker period and conduct their work from home as far as possible,” said the spokesperson.

READ: COVID-19: All pre-school operators to provide 50% off school fees for one month for Singaporean children

On Apr 6, the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Ministry of Education announced that parents of Singaporean pre-schoolers will receive 50 per cent off school fees for a month, after subsidies, for children who do not attend classes during the "circuit breaker" period.  

The offset will be effected from the May 2020 invoice.

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Source: CNA/hw

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