Singapore

Pre-schools to reopen in stages, first to go back are K1 and K2 kids

Next will be N1 and N2 children, followed by those in infant care and playgroups

From June 2, pre-schools will resume general services for children in stages, Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said yesterday.

Kindergarten 1 and Kindergarten 2 children - five- and six-year-olds - will be the first to return from June 2, while Nursery 1 and Nursery 2 children may go back a week later, from June 8.

From June 10, the youngest group of children in infant care and playgroups may return.

In line with circuit breaker measures, pre-schools have been closed since April 8 to most children except for a small group that need care support.

When the centres reopen, they must adhere to safe management measures such as compulsory mask or shield wearing for all staff and children aged two years and older, having smaller groups of children during activities, as well as staggering drop-off and pick-up timings.

Speaking at a press conference of the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19 in Singapore, Mr Lee said as the circuit breaker comes to an end, workplaces will reopen and parents will need childcare support.

Student care centres for older students will fully reopen on June 2 with precautions in place, he added.

Early intervention centres - for children with special needs - will also reopen in phases, starting with children with higher needs or those who attend only such centres.

The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said yesterday all other children, who attend both pre-school and programmes at early intervention centres, will continue to be supported with remote learning, to reduce any risk of transmission across centres.

REMAIN SUSPENDED

Supplementary programmes, such as enrichment and early intervention services by providers who move across various centres, remain suspended, it added.

Mr Lee said pre-schools are reopening in phases to give children, parents and staff time to adapt to stepped-up measures, and ease the transition on young children.

"While we cannot eliminate the risk of transmission, we can minimise the risks. Therefore rules and practices in pre-school and early intervention centres will have to change," he said.

For instance, staff members and children aged two and older will wear a mask or face shield in school.

Temasek Foundation is providing face shields to all 180,000 children in pre-schools and early intervention centres, as well as 30,000 staff.

Mr Lee said ECDA will devote the first two weeks of reopening to reinforcing public health awareness and ensuring staff, children and parents develop "Covid-safe" habits.

The pre-school community will, among other things, adopt safe hygiene measures, including frequent handwashing and cleaning of premises and equipment, as well as smaller group activities in a class.

They will stagger the use of common areas and facilities as well as suspend cross-deployment of staff.

coronavirus