STARTING July 1, public and private preschool facilities and kindergartens can resume operations – subject to strict compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The Education Ministry, together with the Rural Development Ministry and National Unity Ministry, released detailed SOPs outlining the do’s and don’ts recently.
These, the ministries said in a statement, are in line with the Education Ministry’s school reopening management guidelines.
The SOPs state that:
> Pupils are encouraged to wear face masks but those with low immunity must do so.
> Pupils must be healthy before going to class. Unwell children are not allowed in.
> School bags and food and beverages from home are not allowed in, except for pupils who require a special diet. Permission is required from the preschool/kindergarten administration.
> Pupils must wash their hands as soon as they enter class, and before and after doing activities.
> Breakfast and all activities must be done in pupils’ designated seats.
> Pupils must clean their own tables before and after eating.
> Pupils’ temperature will be recorded in front of their parents or guardians. If the temperature is 37.5°C and above, pupils must be taken home.
> Pupils must not share equipment and each tool must be disinfected after use.
> Food must be served in the space provided.
> Classrooms must be cleaned before the school session starts and every day after the session ends.
> There must be sufficient facilities to wash hands and temperature scanners.
> Teachers and student management assistants must ensure pupils wash their hands before and after teaching and learning.
> Group activities or activities that involve contact cannot be carried out.
On Tuesday, Deputy Education Minister 1 Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon said preschools and kindergartens will reopen as scheduled on July 1 following requests from parents who had to return to work.
The ministry, he said, would ensure that all SOPs are in place before the reopening.
The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) had earlier urged the government to postpone the reopening as most preschools and kindergartens were not prepared to do so due to the various SOPs.
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Council president Datuk Dr Chiam Heng Keng welcomed the ministry’s announcement.
“The reopening has been much awaited by the industry which is facing great financial difficulties due to the loss of income while having to pay for their employee’s full salaries.
“This also means that parents will be able to send their children to kindergartens, enabling them to return to work,” she added.
Although children have been learning through online platforms, Dr Chiam said younger children need social interaction for their psychological well-being.
They must be exposed to different environments for stimulation and to give their brain cells the experiences to strengthen their neural pathways, she added.
“Face-to-face interactions are more effective than online interactions. Screen time for young children should also be limited.”
For more information on the SOPs, visit https://www.moe.gov.my/pemberitahuan/pengumuman.