Pre-schools, student care centres to remain open: Chan Chun Sing

While parents are encouraged to keep their children at home in the coming weeks, as telecommuting is now the default, pre-schools and student care centres will remain open to support parents who need to work, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said yesterday.

"We understand that many parents are essential workers who need to work... They would require services in the schools and childcare centres to help them during this period, and we will make all efforts to help parents and families who require such services," he said at a virtual press conference.

The announcement comes amid a spike in Covid-19 community cases here, and as the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that all schools will start full home-based learning from Wednesday until May 28, when the school term ends.

In a press release, MOE also said that schools will remain open for students who require additional support.

In particular, parents working in essential services or who are unable to secure alternative care arrangements may approach their children's primary schools for assistance.

As for pre-schools and student care centres, the ministry said: "As work-from-home will be the default mode at workplaces, parents are encouraged to keep their children at home during this period where possible."

For parents of pre-schoolers who are able to keep their children at home, the ministry said the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) is prepared to waive the minimum attendance requirement for pre-school subsidies.

ECDA is also prepared to waive the requirement for pre-schools to remain in operation at required hours during the period of home-based learning, if all parents in the pre-school decide to keep their children at home, added the ministry.

Mr Chan said that the authorities understand that this shift to home-based learning may cause anxiety in some parents, as it did during the circuit breaker last year.

"But we want to assure all parents and students that MOE will continue to extend our help and our fullest support to the schools, the teachers and the parents who require additional help to make these adjustments," he said.

This article first appeared in The Straits Times.