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Pre-school outdoor activities reduced to 2 children per group amid stricter COVID-19 measures

Pre-school outdoor activities reduced to 2 children per group amid stricter COVID-19 measures

File photo of a student and teacher at MOE Kindergarten@Fernvale. (Photo: Facebook/Ministry of Education, Singapore)

SINGAPORE: Pre-schools will reduce the group size for outdoor activities to two children from the same class, down from five previously, as part of stricter COVID-19 safe management measures.

The changes will be in effect from May 16 to Jun 13, said the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) on Saturday (May 15).

The new measures come amid a spike in COVID-19 community cases in Singapore in recent weeks. The Government on Friday announced new temporary measures to stem the flow the rise in infections, including reducing the size of social gatherings to two a group and suspending dining-in at food and beverage outlets.

READ: Group sizes down from 5 to 2, dining-in suspended as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures

In line with the shift to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), safe management measures at pre-schools and early Intervention centres will also be tightened, said ECDA on Saturday.

In addition to the curb on group sizes for outdoor activities at pre-schools, early intervention centres will also conduct their sessions in groups of two children during this period, said ECDA.

They can provide remote support to children who are unable to attend in-person services in the centre or have a lower level of support needs, said ECDA.

SUPPLEMENTARY PROGRAMMES

Additionally, individuals conducting supplementary programmes can also now only physically serve one pre-school. They were previously allowed to serve a maximum of four schools.

This applies to those who provide enrichment programmes, Focused Language Assistance in Reading and Development Support and Learning Support.

Exceptions will be made for providers of the Development Support Plus programme, which serves children with higher developmental needs. These providers can serve up to four places of practice at a time.

READ: New COVID-19 measures in Singapore: What is allowed under the tighter restrictions?

NO PARENTS ALLOWED

During this period, admission of external visitors will be restricted to people who are needed to support centre operations, such as for urgent repairs, or perform necessary functions like licensing and auditing. They will be subject to strict safe management measures.

All parents - including those of newly enrolled children - will not be allowed to enter pre-schools.

From Sunday, all staff must also wear masks in pre-schools. They will not be allowed to use face shields alone without a mask when conducting lessons.

Face shields instead of masks were allowed for people speaking to a group in a classroom or lecture-style setting under Ministry of Health guidelines announced last June.

READ: COVID-19: Schools to conduct CCAs online, suspend external activities

Pre-schools will continue to segregate children by their classes and suspend large group activities in pre-schools and activities in external venues, said ECDA.

All staff at pre-schools and early intervention centres will be restricted to serve only one centre. Child first-aid training must now also be conducted virtually along with all other external training.

"Parents are encouraged to monitor the health of their children, seek medical attention promptly and not bring their children to the preschools or (early intervention) centres if their children feel unwell," said ECDA.

"Staff are likewise encouraged to seek medical attention promptly if unwell."

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Source: CNA/dv

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