Report: Childcare centres 'not expected to open' for another month

PETALING JAYA (May 3): Childcare or daycare centres “are not expected to open for about another month” as operators have to prepare themselves for “stringent precautionary measures” or standard operating procedures (SOPs) given by the authorities before they can restart their businesses, The Star reported today.

“We have to clean and disinfect our premises as well as get approval from the Health Ministry before reopening, and that will certainly take time.

“We also need to consider the zones that the childcare centres are in, whether it’s in a green, yellow, orange or red zone. We can’t simply reopen,” Association of Registered Childcare Providers Malaysia president Anisa Ahmad told the English daily yesterday about the prospect of operating again tomorrow.

She also revealed that some of the centre owners have gone back to their hometowns just before the movement control order (MCO) started on March 18 and will have to self-quarantine for 14 days when they return to their homes before reopening the childcare centres.

She therefore “estimated” that childcare centres would most likely reopen only after a month.

Anisa also warned that the centres would have get ready for the “new normal” such as not being able to take in the usual volume of kids owing to social distancing requirements.

“This is because social distancing measures among children are part of the SOPs discussed,” Anisa said.

“We have to reduce the number of children if we want to practise social distancing.

“So our target is to perhaps have only 50% of the normal headcount, for example having only 20 kids instead of the usual 40,” she explained to The Star.

There will also be more paper work as a “health declaration form” have to be filled by parents and operators before the centres could resume operations.

Parents will also be “advised” to monitor their children’s body temperature at home and must not come to the centres if they have temperature of above 37.5°C and flu-like symptoms.

The same SOP applies to centre staff and parents.

Anisa also reminded all that priority will be given to “the children of frontliners and kids whose both parents have to return to work”.

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