By John Isaac
CHILDREN will not be allowed to bring their own food, drinks and bags to their preschools which will reopen next Wednesday.
However, the Education Ministry said exceptions to the standard operating procedure (SOP) would be given to children who had special dietary requirements and with the permission of the preschool operators.This ruling applies to all government and private preschools.
The ministry said if there was a need to “transit” any bag or food, it would be handed directly to kindergarten teachers or assistants.
The government announced last week that kindergartens and preschools would be allowed to resume on July 1, more than three months after being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to The Star, there are 6,216 preschools directly under the ministry, 8,530 Tadika Kemas, 1,781 Tabika Perpaduan and 7,887 private preschools in the country.
Malaysian Association of Kindergartens chairman Eveleen Ling said they had received many calls from parents about the matter.
“Parents prefer their children bring their own food and drink as they think it is safer,” she said.
Ling also said that many private kindergartens did not have their own kitchens and were not happy with this procedure.
“If kindergartens have to provide food, either by making or catering, this might result in an increase in fees,” she added.
Ling said they were hoping to get some clarifications on the matter soon.
In a frequently asked questions (FAQs) circular on the SOP, the ministry said operators of preschools could not force parents to send their children.
“The attendance of the child depends on the parents’ readiness to send them to preschool/tabika/tadika,” it said.
Other measures for the reopening of preschools include social distancing requirements and hygienic practices that, among others, require students to wash their hands before entering the schools.
Children who are unwell and have a temperature of more than 37.5°C will not be allowed in.
Teachers are required to wear face masks while children are encouraged to do so.
Parents are also not allowed to enter premises and are required to drop off and pick up their children according to specified times.