Govt reactivates additional SOPs for childcare centres

Fatimah and Masing interact with a child.

KUCHING: The state government has reactivated the additional standard operating procedures (SOPs) measures for all public and private childcare centres and nurseries in Kuching following the enforcement of the conditional movement control order (CMCO).

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah, however, said that these centres must obtain health declaration from all parties involved and strictly follow the stipulated SOPs.

“There is no obstacle for them to operate. The ministry understands the economic sector must function as normal and parents have to go out to work,” she said during her official visit to the State Library nursery to inspect the nursery’s SOPs compliance on Monday (Nov 23).

Fatimah said the State Disaster Committee Management (SDMC) had agreed to consider these centres as essential service.

She added this was necessary to reduce the burden of working parents.

Caregivers must ensure that all children practise physical distancing.

“Nurseries and kindergartens are essential services for parents who are working, especially frontliners.

“Some have to take leave but until when? Some had to take unpaid leave, some brought their children to the office, and they even had to send their children to a babysitter or a relative’s house which may not be in full compliance with the SOPs.

“Some have to work from home, where they are forced to juggle between housework, their children, and work demands. Such circumstances may cause them stress.

“Listing these centres as essential service would enable parents to work with less stress, allowing them to focus on rejuvenating the economy and taking care of the wellbeing of the family,” she added.

Fatimah also elaborated on the additional SOPs that operators must comply with.

“Operators must acquire health declaration by parents, their staff members, and children to ensure they are in good health.

“Sanitation of the premises must be done regularly and sanitisation equipment must be placed at strategic points.

“The usage of masks and frequent hand washing among children is necessary and the children’s attendance must be strictly observed.

“Another measure is ensuring there is physical distancing among children. Operators and staff members are also required to notify parents to make sure that they are fully complying with the SOPs,” she said.

Also present during the visit was SDMC acting director Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing.

Fatimah (third left), Masing (third right) and others after inspecting the nursery.