Precautionary Measures on COVID-19

UPDATE 19 JUNE 2020:
In line with the easing of Circuit Breaker measures by the Singapore Government, RySense will resume in-person / face-to-face focus groups and surveys from 19 June 2020 onwards.

FAQ FOR FOCUS GROUPS

1. Why are you still running focus groups at this time?

RySense’s mission is to collect timely feedback on issues that affect all Singaporeans. We firmly believe that feedback is even more crucial in the current situation, so that we can highlight how Singaporeans are being impacted as things evolve.

Some research can be conducted over the phone or the Internet, but for others, we need to speak with people face-to-face in order to really understand how Singaporeans feel.

The safety and health of all our respondents and staff is of utmost priority to us, and we have put in place extensive precautionary measures for any research conducted in-person. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and update our protocols in line with the latest government guidelines.

Participation in our focus groups is completely voluntary. We understand if you do not feel comfortable, and you may choose not to participate or opt-out at any point in time. However, we hope you will consider participating to be a voice for the thoughts and feelings of our fellow Singaporeans.

2. What is RySense doing to ensure the safety of respondents and staff in the current COVID-19 situation?

We have put in place extensive precautionary measures for our focus groups in accordance with the latest government guidelines.

Respondent pre-screening measures

  • All respondents are required to make health declarations.
  • Anyone who has been in contact with infected patients or persons serving Leave of Absence/Stay Home Notice/Quarantine Orders, will not be allowed to participate in the focus group.
  • Respondents are informed not to turn up for the focus group if they are feeling unwell.
  • Those who are unwell and still turn up will not be allowed to participate.
  • We will take the temperature of respondents before the focus group commences. Those with a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius and above will not be allowed to participate.

Safety during the focus group

  • The focus group discussion room is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after every discussion.
  • Everyone participating in the focus group, including RySense staff and moderators, must wash or sanitise their hands before the focus group commences, and wear a mask at all times.
  • Hand sanitiser is provided at the waiting area and in the focus group room for use at any time.
  • The size of the focus group is capped at 6 respondents and 1 moderator*, with all attendees seated 1 metre apart from each other.
  • Respondents will be served individually-packed refreshments.

*Note that these figures may change, depending on the situation and government regulations.

Safety for RySense staff
All RySense staff are required to abide by safety protocols in the office, including:

  • On-site temperature screening and making regular health declarations.
  • Staying away from office if they feel unwell and/or have been in contact with any infected patients or persons serving Leave of Absence/Stay Home Notice/Quarantine Orders.
  • Wearing a mask in the office at all times except while eating.
  • Regularly sanitising their hands.
  • Observing safe distancing guidelines.

Safety of our office premises

  • In accordance with government regulations, all staff and visitors to our office are required to use ‘SafeEntry’ to provide their details and facilitate contact tracing. You are required to ‘check in’ and ‘check out’ twice
    • Once when entering/exiting the building
    • A second time when entering/exiting our office on the 13th floor
  • To minimise the risk of cross-contamination, we have also applied antimicrobial coating on high touch point surfaces such as doorknobs and door handles. Used in hospitals, this coating kills viruses and bacteria, and offers long-lasting protection 24 hours a day. The coating is re-applied regularly to enhance the safety of all staff and visitors.
  • For the ongoing safety of all our staff and visitors, our office is fitted with an air purification system that destroys 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, with a performance level similar to those used in healthcare facilities. Please see FAQ#10 for more information.

3. I’ve turned up for the focus group. Why am I being turned away? I feel fine.

As a precaution to ensure the safety of others, if you are having a fever or display flu-like symptoms such as cough, runny nose or a sore throat, we will request that you not participate in the focus group and seek medical attention immediately.

4. Why do I need to wash or sanitise my hands? I am allergic to sanitiser.

As part of our precautionary measures to provide a safe environment for all attending the focus group, we request that respondents wash and sanitise their hands before the focus group commences.

If you have washed your hands with soap before the group commences, using hand sanitiser is not a must. However, we strongly encourage the use of sanitiser as an added precaution for the safety of all respondents.

5. Is there social distancing during the focus group? How do I know I will be safe sitting with others in a focus group room for 2+ hours?

Ahead of the focus group, respondents are pre-screened to ensure that they are healthy and have not been in contact with any infected patients or persons serving Leave of Absence/Stay Home Notice/Quarantine Orders. Each group is kept to 6 respondents and 1 moderator*, in accordance with current government regulations.

During the discussion, respondents are seated 1 metre apart and will need to wear a mask. Hand sanitiser will be provided throughout the focus group discussion so respondents can sanitise their hands at any time. The focus group discussion room is also thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before and after each discussion. Finally, our office is fitted with an air purification system that destroys 99.99% of bacteria and viruses, with a performance level similar to those used in healthcare facilities. Please see FAQ #10 for more information.

*Note that these figures may change, depending on the situation and government regulations.

6. How do you ensure safety when serving refreshments?

To minimise the risk of cross-contamination, all respondents will be served refreshments that are individually packed.

7. I’ve already turned up, but I don’t feel comfortable. If I don’t want to take part in the study, or if I choose to leave halfway, do I still get an incentive for coming down?

Your feedback is important to us, and we hope you will participate to be a voice for the thoughts and feelings of our fellow Singaporeans. We understand, however, if you do not feel comfortable and wish to leave at any point.

Participation in our focus groups is completely voluntary, and the incentive is a token of our appreciation for staying for the full duration of the focus group. Please understand that we do not give any incentive, full or partial, if you choose to leave the focus group before it has finished.

8. What happens if there’s a COVID-19 case from the focus group I attended? Will I be informed?

We keep a confidential record of respondents’ contact details for every focus group. We are fully committed to cooperating with the relevant Singapore Government authorities to assist in contact tracing should any confirmed or suspected cases be identified from our focus groups. The contact tracing team in charge of the case will inform you if you are considered to be at risk and provide further instructions on what to do.

9. Who do I inform if I feel unwell/am infected after I attend the focus group?

You can call or text us at 9106 1615 to inform us if you develop any symptoms after the focus group. If you have not already done so, you can seek treatment at any of the Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) as well as polyclinics. You may look for a PHPC near you at www.phpc.gov.sg. All cases fulfilling the suspect case definition will be reported to the Ministry of Health (MOH) immediately and referred to hospitals for further assessment and treatment.

10. What is the air purification system you are using? How does it protect the health of staff and visitors to your office?

Our office is fitted with an air purification system by BioZone that destroys 99.99% of bacteria and viruses. It is a system that meets the performance standards of healthcare facilities, and is being used by establishments such as Thomson Medical, ION Orchard and Tampines One. The system makes use of the latest Photo Plasma technology to reach every corner of a room, killing both airborne and surface contaminants. This provides a safer and more comfortable environment for all our respondents and staff. For more information on the system, please visit https://www.biozonesg.net/technology.

FAQ ON DOOR-TO-DOOR/HOUSEHOLD SURVEYS

1. Even with the eased circuit breaker measures, the government is telling businesses to let employees work from home where possible. Is it legal for your interviewers to do home surveys? Why can’t you just do the survey online or on the telephone?

RySense’s mission is to collect timely feedback on issues that affect all Singaporeans. We firmly believe that feedback is even more crucial in the current situation, so that we can highlight how Singaporeans are being impacted as things evolve.

Some research can be conducted over the phone or the Internet, but the nature and design of door-to-door household surveys means that it is not possible to conduct this kind of survey through other means, and therefore we must do it in-person.

The government’s guidelines state that employees should work from home as much as possible, but where this is not possible, companies are required to take the necessary safety precautions.

The safety and health of all our respondents and staff is of utmost priority to us, and we have put in place extensive precautionary measures for any research that must be conducted in-person. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and update our protocols in line with the latest government guidelines.

2. In view of the current COVID-19 situation, what precautionary measures do you have in place?

We have put in place extensive precautionary measures for our door-to-door household surveys, in accordance with the latest government guidelines.

Precautions taken by interviewers before the survey

  • Our interviewers are required to make health declarations before starting work.
  • Any interviewer who has been in contact with any infected patients or persons serving Leave of Absence/Stay Home Notice/Quarantine Orders is not allowed to work.
  • Interviewers are required to take their temperature at the start of each work day. If they display symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or a runny nose, or feel unwell, they will not be allowed to work.
  • All interviewers are required to observe good personal hygiene, including sanitising their hands before and after each survey.

Safety of the households contacted for the survey

  • Interviewers must check if any members of a selected household are on Leave of Absence (LOA), Stay Home Notice (SHN) or Quarantine Order (QO). If there are any such members, our interviewers will not proceed with surveying that household.
  • In case there is a need for contact tracing:
    • Interviewers are assigned specific blocks / streets to contact for surveys, and we maintain records of the households each interviewer has contacted.
    • For households that agree to participate in the survey, interviewers will seek the consent of respondents to share their contact details.

Safety during the survey

  • Interviewers must wear a mask at all times when speaking with respondents.
  • Surveys can only be conducted at the entry way of respondents’ homes, and at a safe distance of at least 1 metre away from the respondent.
  • The iPads that the interviewers use are sanitised with alcohol wipes before every interview. Respondents can request the interviewer to wipe down the iPads again at any point during the interview.

Participation in our surveys is completely voluntary. Should anyone be uncomfortable participating in the survey or speaking with the interviewer at any point, the interviewer will stop the survey.

3. Your precautionary measures don’t seem sufficient. COVID-19 cases can be asymptomatic. Will you stop conducting surveys if the number of cases goes up?

We have put in place extensive precautionary measures for any research conducted in-person, in accordance with current government guidelines. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and update our protocols in line with the latest government guidelines.

Participation in our surveys is completely voluntary. We understand if you do not feel comfortable, and you may choose not to participate or opt-out at any point in time. However, we hope you will consider participating to be a voice for the thoughts and feelings of our fellow Singaporeans.

4. Why is the interviewer wearing an “I’m okay” badge?

The “I’m okay” badge indicates that the interviewer has taken their temperature before starting work and is healthy (no symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat or runny nose) to be able to conduct surveys.

5. Why must I give you my contact details? Isn’t this against Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) regulations?

We ask for your contact details to facilitate validation and contact tracing as part of our precautionary measures. In line with PDPA guidelines, we can only collect your personal information with your explicit consent. Sharing your details is voluntary, but we encourage you to do so.

6. Who do I inform if I feel unwell/am infected after I complete your survey?

You can call us at 6572 7500 to inform us if you develop any symptoms after the survey. If you have not already done so, you can seek treatment at any of the Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPCs) as well as polyclinics. You may look for a PHPC near you at www.phpc.gov.sg. All cases fulfilling the suspect case definition will be reported to the Ministry of Health (MOH) immediately and referred to hospitals for further assessment and treatment.