By John Isaac
KINDERGARTENS and childcare centres in all divisions except Sibu are allowed to operate but with strict compliance to the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) standard operating procedures (SOP).
Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said the decision to allow these facilities to open is to cater to the need of working parents including those on the frontline who have difficulties getting someone to care for their young children while they are at work.
“Kindergartens and daycare centres in Kuching and other divisions which are under CMCO can be opened, but those in Sibu which is under the Movement Control Order (MCO) are not allowed to.
“For working parents including the frontliners, they need a safe place to send their children to. A safe place is a place where the standard operating procedures are enforced,” she said as reported by Borneo Post.
On the SOP for kindergartens and daycare centres, Fatimah said these facilities need to ensure their premises and equipment are disinfected prior to opening, and their setup inside meets physical distancing requirements.
“A briefing must be conducted for teachers and parents before opening. Declaration forms must be filled by both teachers and parents, and the use of face mask and sanitisation of hands are compulsory and must be adhered to.
“We also have stringent SOP for before, during and after classes, so the process of cleaning the place again is done as well as the equipment. God-willing, our children will be safe,” she said.
Should a child be found to be unwell, Fatimah said the child would be placed in an isolation room and the parents will be notified to bring their child home.
“The centre will also be required to close until further notice,” she added.
She said throughout last year, her ministry did not record a single case of a kindergarten or childcare centre being required to close due to a child contracting Covid-19.
“Even if a child from a kindergarten or daycare centre is infected, it was from the social activity of the family. That is why we need the parents to declare where they have been before their child is allowed into the premises.
“This (declaration) includes the teachers as well.”
The CMCO is being extended to all divisions starting today until Jan 31, while Sibu Division comprising the districts of Sibu, Kanowit and Selangau is currently under the MCO until Jan 29.