SINGAPORE: A PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots centre closed for the day on Tuesday (Mar 24) after one of its teachers tested positive for COVID-19.

PCF said it was informed by the health ministry on Monday that the teacher had contracted the novel coronavirus.

The teacher, who works at the PCF Sparkletots at Fengshan Block 126, first reported the onset of symptoms last Friday and sought immediate medical attention, said a senior director of PCF’s pre-school management division Marini Khamis.

She was last in the centre for a few hours last Wednesday before going on leave from Wednesday to Friday, said Ms Khamis in a statement.

“The teacher was on leave from Mar 18 to Mar 20, 2020, and was last in the centre for a few hours on Mar 18 to attend to some work which did not involve conducting of lessons for children,” said the statement, adding that she had cleared the necessary health checks – including temperature taking – that day before entering the centre.

The health ministry is currently carrying out contact tracing.

Parents of students at the centre have been informed of the case, and have been advised to closely monitor their children’s health, said Ms Khamis.

The centre was closed on Tuesday for “thorough cleaning and disinfection of the premises” as an added precautionary measure, she said.

READ: Singapore reports 2 deaths from COVID-19

However as the teacher’s last contact with the centre was two days before the onset of her symptoms, the authorities have said there is no need to close the centre for 14 days, she added.

“As the teacher’s last contact with the centre was two days before the onset of symptoms and she was well while in the centre, it is (the Ministry of Health and the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA)’s assessment that there is no need to close the Centre for 14 days based on current available facts.”

She sought to reassure parents that all PCF Sparkletots centres were taking the necessary precautions amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

These include thrice-daily health and temperature checks, regular cleaning and regular handwashing. Non-essential visits to the centres have been suspended, and children and staff members displaying symptoms are not allowed in.

Programmes at the Fengshan centre are set to resume on Wednesday.

READ: Schools remain safe places for children, additional precautionary measures implemented: Ong Ye Kung

Singapore has confirmed 509 COVID-19 cases as of Monday. The country recorded its first deaths related to the disease on Saturday, a 75-year-old Singaporean woman and a 64-year-old Indonesian man.

Schools reopened on Monday after the March holidays with additional precautionary measures to safeguard students, teachers and other staff members. 

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Sunday that schools remain safe places for children and that the closure of schools will disrupt many lives, especially working parents with limited childcare options with no domestic help.

Among the precautionary measures implemented is the leave of absence or stay-home notice policy as well as checks on travel history at the school gates. 

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