As Preschools Reopen, Some Parents Fearful, Others Optimistic

While some parents are worried about their kids’ safety in school, others note that children are less likely to be affected by Covid-19.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — Some parents are still worried about sending their children to preschool amid the Covid-19 outbreak, as kindergartens, preschools, nurseries, and daycare centres reopen today.

Although Malaysia’s daily reported cases are under the projected number of cases by the Ministry of Health, parents are still concerned about children’s inability to practice physical distancing and other safety measures, according to interviews conducted by CodeBlue.

However, a few were less concerned, pointing out that children are less likely to be affected by Covid-19.

“We totally understand the concern of the government to allow private preschools to function as their business, affected badly during MCO. But I am not sending my daughter to her preschool because my wife and I are still afraid of the virus spreading,” Nantha Kumar told CodeBlue.

“Moreover, the small size of the classroom is not suitable to practice social distancing measures among the children,” he added.

A mother, named Faizurah, said her children found it difficult to maintain a safe physical distance from their friends.

“I am worried that the crowded environment would cause infectious diseases to spread faster,” she said.

Another mother called Mira Ramasamy also expressed a lack of confidence in sending her children back to kindergarten.

“We think that the kids will not be able to practice the precautionary measures like maintaining social distance, wearing a mask and washing their hands regularly,” she told CodeBlue.

“I understand the plight of working parents who are very much dependent on day care centres to take care of their children. But we will wait for another month to see if the situation is under control among children, before sending them to schools,” she added.

Amid research that children are less likely to be infected by the novel coronavirus, some parents feel that sending their children outside will help boost their immune system. At the same time, they also stressed the importance of following standard operating procedures (SOPs) at school premises.

“Yes, I will send my kid to the school, but the school premise should be sanitised before reopening. The management should record temperature measures at least twice a day and should not allow children with symptoms of illness. The management should also clean the school daily and should not conduct any parties or events in school,” said Hiew Chia Hui.

Thilagavathi Arichanan said children could not stay at home forever as they would get stressed.

“In fact, kids will also become obese and inactive if they don’t go out and play. I think sending my son to his preschool will allow him to build his immunity towards this disease,” she said.

“So far children were not affected much by Covid-19, according to the global statistics.”

Another parent named Emilia said she wanted her child to practice or to be educated by teachers to frequently wash hands and maintain hygiene.

“Want them to learn these habits from young and practice them as part of their life practice from now on,” she said.

A few agencies in the country are carrying out preschool education such as the Ministry of Education (MOE), and other public agencies such as Tabika Perpaduan and Tabika KEMAS.

There are preschools under the supervision of state governments such as MAIWP (or Federal Territory Islamic Religious Council), Islamic Kindergarten and JAIS (or Selangor Islamic Religious Department) preschool, as well as private kindergartens functioning in the country.

Secondary students sitting for public and international exams were allowed to go to school starting from June 24.

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