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Covid-19 FAQ

Last updated on 22/01/2021

The health and safety of our students and staff are our top priorities. The health measures that we have taken in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak are detailed below and have been guided by the Singapore Government recommendations (MOE, MOH) we have received to date. Beyond these regulations, we are in close contact with International SOS, the French Embassy in Singapore as well as the other AEFE establishments in the Asia Pacific region. These measures are to ensure we are taking the appropriate steps and guarantee a maximum level of protection for all students and staff while facilitating the continuity of teaching as far as possible.


The situation is continually evolving. Please read this FAQ carefully and remain alert to any new communication sent by the school on this subject.

Thank you for your cooperation. The help and collaboration across our entire community is necessary to manage the coming weeks. These measures guarantee optimal security without causing panic.

Resumption of face-to-face classes on 2 June

We are coming to the end of this first phase of the “circuit breaker”, initially scheduled until 1 June inclusive. The government released information on 19 May on the recovery conditions to be implemented 2 June and has laid the groundwork for a plan spread over the next few weeks and months. The CPE (Committee for Private Education) has clarified the conditions that apply to international schools.

The main principles are:

  • Kindergarten : the return of MS and GS students from 2 June, and the return of TPS and PS students the week of 8 June.
  • Elementary : school attendance limited to 50% of students.
  • Secondary, grades from 6ème to 2nde : return to school limited to 50% of students.
  • Secondary, grades 1ère and Terminale : return limited to high school to 50% of students.

There will, therefore, be a weekly alternation between face-to-face and home-based education for primary and secondary students during the four weeks from 2 June to 2 July.

We are in the process of discussing the critical aspects of this face-to-face resumption with the CPE. We are working on a plan integrating the sanitary and social distancing measures to be implemented and the face-to-face/distancing alternation times to be defined by level. This must be submitted to the CPE for approval.

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IFS Home-based teaching & learning programme 2020

Click here to view our home-based learning continuity plan.

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Use of the ZOOM video conferencing tool

The educational team selected Zoom from other platforms for some of its functionalities which are particularly well suited to home-based learning.

  1. Teachers have greater control over their students and the virtual classroom environment.
  2. Teachers have greater visibility of their students and the class as a whole.
  3. Teachers can lock the Zoom client to allow users to join the class only from the school account.
  4. Teachers can approve or deny screen sharing for students.
  5. Teachers can authorize or cut the participants’ voices.
  6. Teachers can limit or prohibit discussion between students and make sure they are focused on the lesson in progress.

Also, according to the responses to the questionnaire following the two days of testing, more than 90% of parents consider this tool suitable.

We, therefore, wish to continue using Zoom, since we can now ensure that the security conditions necessary for our activity are met.

Zoom has implemented critical features in recent days to secure its use and protect its users. IFS is deploying this weekend a configuration of Zoom parameters on all future videoconferences so that from Monday, 13 April the following measures are systematically applied:

  • The use of a unique identification number and password for each video
  • Sharing the Zoom meeting link and its password communicated only in the week or on Pronote (and not in an email to parents/students)
  • Access control for each participant in the meeting, via an authorization request to join the session (passage through a virtual waiting room)
  • The inability for students to:
    • record the meeting,
    • to make private chats,
    • to share their screen or their documents.

In doing so, we are confident in our ability to continue to provide quality home-based education while respecting the criteria of student safety and protection.

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Continuity of Learning

As of Wednesday, April 8, home-based education applies for all days of the week, and all IFS students. The teams are ready. The results of the two days of testing were positive. And thanks to the cooperation of each of you, we are confident in the quality of our home-based programme.

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Secondary home-based learning

The google site dedicated to distance learning for secondary school students : https://sites.google.com/ifs.edu.sg/ensadistance-secondaire/accueil

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Elementary educational support

This principle is applied when students are absent while the school operates according to the usual timetables for face-to-face teaching.

It allows absent pupils to be informed of what is done in class during the day, to be able to carry out certain activities and to be aware of the homework given.

Teachers use the classroom site or parent emails to do this.

  • Digital tools: the class site and G Suite.


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Elementary home-based learning

This principle is applied when face-to-face lessons cannot be provided.

Teachers provide a weekly work plan with mandatory and other optional activities. The teacher addresses his students each morning through a video clip. The teacher is available at specific times by email or Zoom meeting.

The student reads the lessons, documents and performs the requested work. He sends his work according to the modality specified by the teacher.

A weekly videoconference contact session between teacher and class is set up.

The objective of this session is school mediation while maintaining a link between the students and the teacher.

  • Digital tools: class site, Zoom Meetings and G Suite.


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Educational support in Kindergarten

This principle is applied when the students are absent while the school operates according to the usual timetables for face-to-face teaching.

The teachers communicate by email with the parents to inform them of the main activities of the class during the day and suggest that they carry them out at home.

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Home-based learning in Kindergarten

This principle is applied when face-to-face lessons cannot be provided.

Teachers provide a weekly work plan with mandatory and other optional activities. The teacher addresses his students each morning through a video clip. The teacher is available at specific times by email.

The family reads the information and documents, and supports the child in carrying out the proposed activities.

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HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES

Trace Together Application or Token

Source: CNA 22/10/2020: “The Government has said it needs at least 70 per cent of people to have either the app or tokens in order for the country to resume more activities safely ahead of a Phase 3 reopening.”

The MOE (Ministry Of Education in Singapore) encourages everyone aged 7 years and above to use the Trace Together application or token. This measure will be applicable as soon as each person has had the opportunity to retrieve the token.

Dates and collection points are available by entering your postal code with the following link: https://token.gowhere.gov.sg/.

We strongly recommend that you collect the token for your children. When implementing this measure, students will be encouraged to wear the TT token at school to ease the tracing contact. For more information on this topic, you can visit the official MOE website: https://www.moe.gov.sg/faqs-covid-19-infection or the Trace Together website: https://www.tracetogether.gov.sg/.

Extract from Ministry Of Education – FAQ on COVID-19:

All individuals aged seven and above will need to use the TT Token or App. The implementation of TT-only SafeEntry will only be enforced when everyone has had a chance to collect a Token at a Community Club/Centre in their respective constituency, or download the App.

While students can download the TT App, they may not have access to their handphones all the time during classes or outdoor activities. As such, when implementation is enforced, students are encouraged to bring the TT Token to school for ease of contact tracing.

Data protection

Similar to the TT App, the TT Token does not capture geo-location data and hence, cannot track movements. As the TT token does not have internet or cellular connectivity, the data on the Token cannot be accessed remotely.

Designed to interoperate with the TT App, the Token works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals with other TraceTogether devices in close proximity. Records of proximity data of close contacts are encrypted and stored locally in the Token for no more than 25 days. The Token will only be collected by the relevant authorities (such as MOH) for data extraction to safeguard public health, and only if a user is confirmed to be a COVID-19 case. Our schools and IHLs will not have access to the data.

All public sector data protection rules will apply to the data held by MOH, including abiding by recommendations of the Public Sector Data Security Review Committee.

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Social distancing measures
Maternelle (Kindergarten)

Health, hygiene and traceability measures for students in the context of COVID-19, have been reinforced since 26 March 2020 in the Maternelle:

  • A fixed place will now be assigned to each pupil at mealtimes.
  • The number of pupils at recess is reduced by the use of a new space made available to the kindergarten to better distribute the children.
  • Swimming sessions are cancelled until further notice.

Additional measures concerning the arrival and departure of children will help us to avoid clustering as much as possible and to limit the time parents spend at the Maternelle :

  • Access to the kindergarten is prohibited for parents and adults who do not work there. The two days of the start of the academic year are an exception.
  • The drop off and pick up of students is done via one of the 3 entrances depending on the level of the child (PS-MS-GS).
  • Only one adult per family is allowed to drop off and pick up children at school.
  • Upon arrival from the school bus, the students will be directed directly to the classrooms by the kindergarten assistants.
Élémentaire (Elementary)

As part of the sanitary prevention measures enacted by the Singaporean government, we would like to reduce the number of adults present in zone R at the end of classes and ensure a smooth departure of students. We are therefore continuing a staggered dismissal of classes.

Pupils who do not take the school bus will now be picked up in zone R at:

Monday to Thursday Friday
CE2, CM1 and CM2 3:15 pm 12:05 pm
CP and CE1 3:25 pm 12:15 pm

The Kensington gate is closed.

The 2900 AMK gate, gate 5 will open at 3:05 pm. Only 1 adult per family is allowed to pick up a child and social distancing must be maintained at all times. We kindly request that you arrive at the time of your child’s designated dismissal time and that you leave the school premises as soon as you have picked up your child.

IMPORTANT

In order to limit the number of adults present in the school at the end of classes, we have opened the possibility for children to leave alone as young as CP. We encourage all of you, regardless of your child’s level, to allow your child to go home alone as much as possible if you feel they are capable of doing so.

Please log on to your Eduka portal to do so. We do need to know the names of the children concerned in order to let them go.

Access to the Al Fresco cafe will not be possible until further notice.

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Wearing of masks

The wearing of the mask is no longer mandatory for children under 6 years old.

However, we remind you that the wearing of the mask is a precautionary measure which remains in any case strongly recommended by the authorities and the IFS.

The mask remains compulsory for all other students aged six years or older.

Within school grounds, a face shield is tolerated in place of the mask for primary school children and teaching staff.

Secondary school pupils and non-teaching staff who are unable to wear a mask due to special circumstances must inform the health service.

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SafeEntry – entering IFS

Anyone (students, parents, employees, etc.) who enters one of the IFS campuses must register on SafeEntry.

For primary school students access to the school is as usual. SafeEntry is done in the classrooms by the teachers. No ID is required for primary students.

For secondary students, entry to the school requires registration at the SafeEntry entrance. There are two options. Students in possession of a mobile phone can show the registration at SafeEntry (via the QR code) or present an ID (NRIC, DP, Student Pass, birth certificate, etc).

For students, copies of these documents are accepted as well as the bar code on the back of the new student ID card.

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Temperature screening

Temperature screening is taken at the entrance of the school for all visitors, staff, secondary students and parents upon arrival. Temperature of students and staff is checked twice a day – on arrival in the morning and at lunchtime.

In secondary, the first temperature control is upon arrival in the morning at the campus entrance, and the second control at lunchtime.

* Currently, the limit is set at 38 °, in order to take into account the fact that a significant number of students travel to school by bicycle or on foot.

IMPORTANT

We ask that you take your child’s temperature each morning before sending him or her to school. In the case of a temperature equal to or above 37.5 ° c, please keep your child at home. We need your help to detect any signs of fever as soon as possible and report it to your doctor.

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Enhanced sanitary measures by transport provider, Woodlands Transport

In phase 2, preventive measures in the school bus are necessary to ensure the situation remains under control. We seek your cooperation to comply to the following:

  • Please check your child’s temperature every morning before boarding the bus. If your child has a fever, or if he/she has difficulty breathing, coughing or a runny nose, please do not send him/her on the bus.
  • Please ensure your child has a face mask/shield on before leaving home. All students are required to put on the face mask/shield before boarding the bus.
    No student is allowed to board the bus if he/she is not wearing a face mask/shield. Bus crews will also comply to wear the face mask/shield.
  • Bus seating arrangements will be assigned to students by the bus attendant. Students will be assigned to be seated separately unless they are siblings.
    Please kindly remind your child to cooperate with the bus attendant and that he/she has to be seated on their assigned seats at all times.
    Students are to minimise talking on board the bus, to prevent the spread of droplets.
  • Bus drivers will comply to routinely sanitise bus seats and interior with disinfectant before each school trip.


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Reinforced health measures

We are preparing a return to the school that preserves the health of our community as much as possible.

  • All Kindergarten staff have been tested for COVID-19 before resumption in the classroom.
  • Staff and students will be required to wear masks on campus.
  • Families whose children have medical exemptions will need to contact the school secretariats to plan alternative arrangements.
  • Parents are responsible for providing their child with two masks, (one of which is a spare) each day before going to school.
  • A system of “SafeEntry” will be set up. It is a requirement for pupils, staff and visitors.
  • Staff on campus will be limited to the extent possible: staff whose presence is not essential to the operation of the school will continue to work from home.
  • We will continue to monitor the temperature of students and staff twice a day.
  • Parents must take their child’s temperature in the morning before they leave home.
  • Access to the campus will be controlled and limited to essential personnel and essential deliveries; parents and visitors will not be able to access the campus.
  • Each of the schools will specify the parents’ access to the campus for drop-off and pick-up of students.
  • Buses will respect the provisions in force and required by the Singaporean authorities. Wearing a mask will be compulsory on school buses.
  • Additional and continuous disinfection of high contact areas and equipment is implemented. Hand washing and disinfection for all are integrated into the school day.


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Use of the swimming pools

There are no contraindications for using the pool. According to International SOS “Swimming itself is safe as pool water contains chlorine and chlorine is known capable to kill COVID-19 virus”.

Pool lessons therefore continue at IFS with the exception of the kindergarten in order to avoid the sharing of facilities with secondary school students.

Pupils who are exempted from the swimming classes require a doctor’s note/certification.

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Postponement of Extra-curricular Activities

Recent measures taken by the Singaporean government to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus have led us to suspend Extra-curricular and AS Activities until further notice.

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Fixed placement in classes and limited trips within the establishment
  • Students are seated in class according to a fixed plan established by the teachers. A further communication will be sent to teachers on this subject.
  • Travel within the school is limited and done in small groups.
  • Access to kindergarten is prohibited for anyone not working for the school.
  • Contact sports are suspended.


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Hydroalcoholic Gels

Antibacterial gels should not replace hand washing.

When the level of hygiene should be at its maximum, as it is today, we allow children to bring it to school. Normally, IFS does not want children to have hydroalcoholic gels on them to avoid ingestion.

Each elementary class has a hydroalcoholic solution at its disposal. They are also available in common areas such as entrances and canteens.

In the maternelle (Kindergarten), the teachers, assistants and the nurse have raised daily awareness on the basic rules of hygiene among the children. Hand washing with soap and water is reinforced before and after recess, meals, visits to the toilet, as well as after every “dirty” activity (painting, cooking, etc.) or motor activities. The maternelle does not wish to provide children with hydroalcoholic gels to avoid the risk of ingestion and not to divert the children’s attention from the need for meticulous and regular handwashing.

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Reinforcement of campus cleaning and disinfection measures

We have greatly increased the frequency of school cleaning and disinfection operations. Emphasizing the heavily frequented areas: reception, infirmaries, corridors, school buses, recreational spaces and canteen areas. Our providers are applying the same rule.

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IFS Contractors and Suppliers

All our service providers in direct or indirect contact with our students are questioned daily about their health.

Our catering service provider has implemented, in addition to these measures, special measures such as taking temperatures, and providing masks for their employees posted at IFS.

Our transport provider applied a policy of thorough cleaning and disinfection of their buses in addition to ensuring the general cleanliness of their coaches.

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School Visitors

All visitors must register on SafeEntry and will be subject to a temperature check. If the person exhibits symptoms of a respiratory illness (cough, runny nose, sore throat, difficulty breathing) the Health and Safety department will be contacted, and the visitor will not be permitted to enter the school’s premises.

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LEAVE OF ABSENCE (LOA), STAY-HOME NOTICE (SHN) AND QUARANTINE ORDER (QO)

IFS COVID-19 Rules
The student or staff member is: IFS Response
a confirmed case of COVID-19 infection

under Quarantine Order (QO)

under Stay Home Notice (SHN)

on Leave of Absence (LOA), due to close contact with a COVID-19 confirmed case(s) or as a result of staying in the same household with individuals on Home Quarantine Order (HQO)

  • Parent of the student or staff member has to report it to IFS (Eduka declaration); 
  • Student or staff member will not be allowed at school;
  • The household members should follow guidelines by Ministry Of Health.
staying in the same household with adults (aged 18 and above) who have flu-like symptoms
  • The staff member is required not to work at school or the student is placed on Approved Absence (AA) for the duration of the unwell individual’s medical leave or until the adult is informed of a negative COVID-19 swab result.
is having flu-like symptoms
  • The student or staff member has to seek medical advice from a doctor. Resuming school or work is allowed after the duration of the unwell individual’s medical leave or until a negative COVID-19 swab result.
is sick but does not have acute respiratory infection (ARI)
  • The student or staff member should rest at home and return school when feeling better. Seeking medical advice is recommended.

For more information, visit:
https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19/faqs

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Quarantine Order, Stay-Home Notice or Leave of Absence

If your child has been the subject of a QO, SHN, or LOA by the Singaporean authorities, you must update the EDUKA profile of your child and contact the educational secretariats with them.

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What is the difference between being issued a Quarantine Order (QO), being under a Leave of Absence (LOA) and being under a Stay-Home Notice (SHN)?

A Quarantine Order (QO) is a legal order issued to individuals under the Infectious Diseases Act and thus has legal force with severe penalties for non-compliance. A QO is issued to quarantine or isolate an individual who is, or is suspected to be, a carrier of an infectious disease or a contact of a person confirmed to have an infectious disease. This is with the aim of limiting the spread of the virus in the community. Quarantine usually occurs in the home but can also be served in dedicated Government Quarantine Facilities (GQFs) or hospitals, should the individual not have suitable accommodation in Singapore.

A Leave of Absence (LOA) is a precautionary measure. We urge those who are on LOA to be socially responsible and comply with the LOA, to prevent possible transmission of infections. Persons on LOA should remain in their residences as much as possible, minimise having visitors and maintain good records of persons with whom they come into close contact. Persons on LOA may leave their residences for daily necessities or to attend important matters, but they must minimise time spent in public spaces and contact with others.

A Stay-Home Notice (SHN) is stricter than the LOA regime. Those placed on SHN will have to remain in their place of residence at all times, and should not invite visitors to their residence.

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What you should do when on Stay-Home-Notice (SHN)?
  1. You must remain in your place of residence or the hotel at all times throughout the entire 14-day period of the SHN. Do not leave your residence or the hotel, even if it is to purchase food and essentials. If necessary, you may opt for home delivery services or enlist the assistance of others for your daily necessities.
  2. You should not have visitors at your residence, and you should minimise contact with others. You should maintain a record of persons you come into close contact with during this period.
  3. The Singapore Government agencies (MOE, ECDA, MOM and Immigration & Checkpoints Authority) may contact you via phone.
  4. Foreign employees with a work pass must download the WhatsApp app on their mobile phone. This is to enable video calls. You must respond within 1 hour when contacted by phone call, WhatsApp or Short Message Service (SMS).


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Pedagogical Support During Student SHN / LOA

In Elementary, close communication will be maintained by the teachers with the family to ensure the continuity of learning while awaiting the student’s return.

In Secondary school, during the absence of your child, the headteacher will contact him/her (by copying the parents) to establish the methods for catching up on lessons and homework. Classroom checks will be made up upon their return.

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Are special financial conditions granted to students in “Stay-Home Notice” (SHN)/Leave of Absence (LOA)?

These are exceptional measures imposed by the current health situation.

The school does not pro-rate tuition fees, canteen or extra-curricular activities concerned by the SHN. These are exceptional health measures that are essential for everyone, whether for families, the school and for our providers. The expenses incurred by the school and the direct costs remain unchanged.

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What happened if a student, staff member, or parent who has recently been on campus, is a confirmed COVID-19 case?

The MOH will immediately contact the management of IFS so that all necessary safety measures are implemented. IFS will ensure student or staff member stays at home and deep cleaning of all relevant spaces are carry out. Class/department of the confirmed COVID-19 case will be informed while protecting personal data and respecting medical confidentiality.

The IFS is prepared for this eventuality, you will find in the link below more specific information on the planned measures.

MOM advisory

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Is there a Coronavirus test in Singapore?

Only people with symptoms identical to those of the virus, and at the request of a specialist doctor can be tested. If you are in good health, without fever or respiratory syndromes, an antivirus scan is not necessary.

A negative screening test does not cancel a student’s SHN.

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RESOURCES

How to support your child(ren) through the COVID-19 outbreak

The COVID-19 epidemic is now a reality and a part of the imagination of children and adolescents as well as those of parents. There is no doubt that this unprecedented time and the uncertainties associated with it can threaten our sense of security and control. It is normal that our level of concern has increased.

Click here to find out how can we best support our children and adolescents through this period. How to find the right words without dramatizing or minimizing and what pitfalls should we avoid not to be overwhelmed emotionally and psychically.

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To keep up to date on the latest news visit these useful links:

Embassy of French in Singapore
Embassy of French in Singapore Advisory (in French only)
Ministry of Health (Singapore)
Ministry of Health (Singapore) COVID-19 FAQ
World Health Organization (WHO)
International SOS
Gov.sg WhatsApp Subscription

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Level of alert as of 07/02 17h45 – ORANGE