SINGAPORE – Some essential services workers will be exempted from a new rule that bans parents from dropping off their children at the grandparents’ place daily.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday night (April 10) that three groups of families will still be able to tap on grandparents for childcare support on a daily basis.
This is when:
– Both parents are essential service workers and unable to work from home;
– One parent is a healthcare professional (such as a doctor, nurse, allied health professional, support care staff) and is unable to work from home;
– One parent is an essential service worker who is unable to work from home, and has a child/children below the age of three.
The rule barring parents from dropping off children at their grandparents’ place daily was announced on Thursday by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong as part of further measures to protect the elderly against Covid-19 infections.
MOH said on Friday that it recognises that there are some households where parents have to continue going to work during this period, even though most parents are now working from home.
“These are workers in our essential services, especially our healthcare workers who are on the frontline working on shifts and on weekends, when childcare centres may not be available, and may be activated at any time of the day to respond to the Covid-19 situation,” said MOH, explaining its reasons to grant exemptions to these groups.
“They will face additional difficulties which may be unnecessarily stressful for these essential service personnel.”
It added that it will be difficult for young children to be away from their parents for long periods of time, and adjusting to new caregivers they are unfamiliar with would be challenging.
Parents requiring assistance may contact the Early Childhood Development Agency at email@example.com or 6735 9213.
MOH said that these families who are exempted from the new rules are advised to take the necessary safe distancing precautions to protect the elderly.
“Observe personal hygiene and try to reduce interaction time as far as possible when visiting their home. Do not visit when unwell,” it added.
“We understand that this is a very difficult adjustment for many families, and these measures go against the instinct to be close to and to support our loved ones.
“But our elderly are most susceptible to severe Covid-19 infection, and we should refrain from exposing them to the risk of Covid-19 as far as possible, by minimising physical interactions with them.”