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Lower turnout expected as kindergartens reopen

30 Jun 2020 / 09:25 H.

PETALING JAYA: Kindergartens will reopen tomorrow but classes may see fewer children as parents’ fear of infection among the little ones continue to loom.

In fact, some kindergartens, expect less than 5% of the enrolment to be back at school, according to the Islamic Kindergarten Association of Malaysia (Pertim).

Many parents have yet to muster enough confidence to send their children back to play school, Malaysian Association of Kindergartens president Eveleen Khoo told theSun yesterday.

“As a result, they have yet to register their children for classes,” she said.

“Parents are still anxious despite the fact that we have put in place standard operating procedures (SOP) mandated by the government,” she added.

The government has announced that kindergartens and pre-schools will be allowed to reopen tomorrow after having shut down for almost three months to prevent children from being infected by the Covid-19 virus.

Khoo said only working parents have made the effort to register their children for classes. “But I believe most parents prefer to wait and see. They will want to observe the teachers to ensure that they adhere to the SOP,” she said.

Khoo expects kindergartens to “get back on track” in “a week or two”.

She said many parents now prefer to have their children attend online classes, given that they have already adjusted to the new normal. However, she stressed that it is still important for children to go to kindergarten to acquire social skills.

Pertim exco member Tiesya Al Jeffrey said most parents prefer to guide their children from home.

To overcome the anxiety, she suggested that parents work together with the staff or the management of the kindergarten to ensure that they continue to obey the SOP.

She also reminded parents to always communicate and educate their children on the importance of personal hygiene.

She said, as a parent she is eager to send her child to kindergarten post-Covid so that her child will be able to adapt to the new normal lifestyle.

“It is time to educate my child on how to avoid being infected. Furthermore, the new normal promotes a healthy lifestyle which not only helps to curb the virus but also other contagious diseases among children, such as hand-foot-and-mouth disease, chicken pox and influenza,” Tiesya added.

However, parent Amira Shamina Mokhtar, 30, is more cautious.

She said she used to send her five-year-old daughter to kindergarten but with the outbreak of Covid-19, she has decided to stop doing so.

“I work from home so I can watch her,” she said.

“Basically, I am worried and afraid for my child. I just want her to be safe, so for now I will work from home and take care of her.”

Meanwhile, kindergartens are already making the necessary preparations to receive the children.

Khoo said the entire premises would be disinfected and there are strategies in place to ensure social distancing among the children.

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