June 12, Expanded Surveillance Testing for COVID-19
June 12, Expanded Surveillance Testing for COVID-19

Dear Parents / Guardians,

We have been asked by the government to share the below information with our families.

EXPANDED SURVEILLANCE TESTING FOR COVID-19

1. Since 2 Jun, the government has expanded surveillance testing for COVID-19. We would like to share MOH's guidelines and what it means for our students.

If your child is unwell, you are required to see a doctor immediately, especially if they display respiratory symptoms.


2. Parents/guardians are required to accompany their children under age 16 who are unwell, with respiratory symptoms like cough, sore throat, and runny nose, to see a doctor and be assessed for Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI). If diagnosed with ARI:

  • Students (13 years and above) will be prioritized for COVID-19 testing and referred for testing at a polyclinic, designated GP clinic participating in the Swab-and-Send-Home initiative or Regional Screening Centre set up by HPB.
  • Students (12 years and below) will be assessed by the doctor as to whether a test is required, as younger children may require different clinical considerations than older children. Those who do not require a test will be issued a 5-day MC and should stay home. If he/she is still unwell at the end of 5 days, he/she should return to the same doctor for follow-up assessment and may be referred to KKH/NUH for a test.

Students will also be required to bring with them their ICS Student ID Card and another form of identification with their NRIC/FIN number.

Students waiting for their COVID-19 swab test results cannot come to school / attend in-person classes. Most results will be available within 3 days, and the doctor will contact the patient or parent/guardian with the results. You are required to inform ICS on the swab test results within 24 hours.

3. Please note that there may be exceptions, depending on the professional judgment of the doctor.

4. Testing will also apply to school staff, complementing the other safe management measures put in place in our schools to safeguard student well-being. For more details, please refer to the MOE FAQs.

Thank you, and stay safe and healthy.

Dr. James P. Rader

FAQs on COVID-19 Testing due to Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) Symptoms

Do all students and staff need to get tested for COVID-19?

Anyone who is unwell, especially if they display respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, cough or sore throat, should see a doctor.

Staff and students (13 years and above), if diagnosed by the doctor to have Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) and require COVID-19 testing, will be referred by the doctor to a polyclinic, designated GP clinic participating in the Swab-and-Send-Home (SASH) initiative or Regional Screening Centre set up by the Health Promotion Board to undergo a test. This also applies to personnel working in schools but who are not MOE-hires, such as SCC/KCare staff, coaches and instructors, canteen, and bookshop operators. A list of GP clinics participating in the SASH initiative can be found at the following website: http://www.phpc.gov.sg.

Students aged 13 to 16 should be accompanied by a parent/guardian for the test. This facilitates consent taking and communication to both the student and parent/guardian on the precautions to take note of while awaiting the test results at home.

For students aged 12 and below, they will be assessed by the doctor on whether a test is required, as younger children may require different clinical considerations from older children. They may be issued a 5-day MC in the first instance, and be required to stay home. If they are well at the end of the MC period, they can return to school. If they are still displaying respiratory symptoms at the end of their MC period, they should return to the same doctor for follow-up assessment, and the doctor may refer them to KKH or NUH for COVID-19 testing.


Why is COVID-19 testing needed?

Testing complements the other safe management measures we have put in place to safeguard the wellbeing and safety of teachers and students. This is to allow us to identify COVID-19 cases earlier and to quickly contain any potential spread in the PEI and community.


What will staff/students getting tested for COVID-19 need to bring along with them? Is payment for the swab test required?

Staff and students will need to bring along their staff/student pass and another form of identification that has their NRIC/FIN number.

Non-PEI staff who work in the PEI or with PEI students will need to bring along a letter of identification from the PEI and a form of identification with their NRIC/FIN number. A mask should be worn at all times.

Students aged 13 to 16 should be accompanied by a parent/guardian for the test. This facilitates consent taking and communication to both the student and parent/guardian on the precautions to take note of while awaiting the test results at home.

The cost of the test arising from a diagnosis of an Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) will be covered by the government. In this scenario, the relevant consultation, medication and investigation costs will be covered under the Flu Subsidy Scheme (for Singaporeans and Permanent Residents, as well as Work Permit Holders).


Why not test all staff like those in pre-schools?

The need for surveillance testing is assessed based on different risk factors, including the group's vulnerability and risk of exposure to COVID-19, and the risk of spread within the particular setting. Within pre-schools/schools/education institutions, other factors are taken into account, including the level of close interaction between staff and students. As pre-school staff have much closer physical interactions with their students, as compared to staff of other schools, all pre-school staff were tested in a one-time sweep before the pre-schools resumed full services.

To reduce the risk of transmission in schools/education institutions, staff diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) by a doctor will be prioritized for testing as part of the overall strategy to keep schools/education institutions safe.