Singapore

PCF reopens all Sparkletots except one in Fengshan

Fengshan centre, which has second largest Covid-19 cluster, closed till April 7

The PAP Community Foundation (PCF) has reopened all of its 360 Sparkletots pre-schools here except one centre in Fengshan, which will remain closed till April 7.

The Sparkletots centre at Fengshan Block 126, which was closed on March 24, has the second largest coronavirus cluster, with at least 26 confirmed cases. Only the Safra Jurong cluster had more confirmed cases.

PCF chief executive Victor Bay said in a statement that 21,393 children attended school yesterday, around half of the total cohort of 40,000 children. This was lower compared with the rate on March 23, which saw an attendance of 29,632 children.

PCF Sparkletots centres have been facing a lower attendance in the past few months as parents kept their children at home or made other childcare arrangements.

Mr Bay said all Sparkletots pre-schools were shut for four days from last Thursday to allow for a professional cleaning of the premises.

Prior to the professional disinfection, the teachers had been thoroughly cleaning frequently touched surfaces including toys, sleeping cots and shared learning resources.

Mr Bay added that this was "part of a regular maintenance routine that has been stepped up in January to safeguard the well-being of the children".

Mrs Genie Teng, whose son is five, was one of the parents who sent their children back to the PCF Sparkletots @ Telok Blangah Block 44 yesterday as the "teachers have confirmed that they have not come in contact with any of the infected staff at the Fengshan centre".

The administrative staff member, 33, was told that the pre-school has been thoroughly sterilised and she hoped teachers would don masks and gloves when taking the temperature of the children, and during mealtimes.

However, she said that masks are not needed all the time. "Parents are worried that the kids might be frightened if teachers wear masks for the entire day, and it may affect their teaching when it comes to pronouncing words, for instance."

A parent, 27, who wanted to be known only as Ms Sheena, said she did not receive any updates from PCF Sparkletots @ Sengkang South Block 443, which her two-year-old son attends.

The assistant manager has decided to keep him at home until she receives an update directly from the pre-school.

UPDATES

"I understand that different centres operate differently. I would like to receive updates on what measures the school has been taking, such as social distancing measures between kids," she said.

She hopes that there would be better communication between the centre and the parents.

Another parent, whose 20-month-old daughter attends PCF Sparkletots @ Moulmein-Cairnhill Block 10, expressed similar concerns about the lack of updates from her centre.

The 35-year-old, who declined to be named, said: "I sent my daughter to school today because I have to work, but I am worried, as I do not know what happens in school.

"More frequent updates will help to allay concerns parents have."

coronavirus