Nurseries for children of frontliners, essential service workers open

Fatimah chairing the press conference.

KUCHING: From tomorrow onwards (May 5), certain registered nurseries (taska) in the red districts will be allowed to operate.

These nurseries cater to children whose parents are categorised as frontliners and essential service workers only.

Minister of Welfare, Community, Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah revealed that following the announcement of  the closure of schools including nurseries and kindergartens (tadika) from April 20, the ministry had received applications to open the nurseries mainly for the children of frontliners.

“After referring to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC), it was decided that nurseries which have applied and been approved by our ministry could provide services to the children of frontliners only.

“At the same time, providing services to children whose parents are essential service workers is allowed as well. This will take effect May 5, 2021,” she told a press conference at her office at Bailtul Makmur II Building today (May 4).

Fatimah said essential service workers included those in the manufacturing sector, construction, financial services and its chain of supply, municipal and local government services, telecommunication and digital infrastructure including ICT services, e-commerce, agriculture and commodities, utilities, logistic businesses, and others. 

“As of April 30, the ministry has received applications from nursery operators and after carefully going through their applications one by one, 65 nurseries have been given the approval. They involve 187 children of frontliners.

“However, the applications from 12 nursery operators were not approved as they did not have parents who were frontliners while one nursery had yet to be registered,” she said.

The minister added that 13 nurseries involving 97 children whose parents were essential service workers had been given the approval to operate.

“All nursery operators must apply from the ministry before operation and they can only operate after obtaining approval from the ministry. This is important for the purpose of monitoring by the ministry,” she said.

Fatimah added that nurseries outside the red zones were allowed to operate as usual but must comply with the strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) as set before, during and after operation.

“All nursery operators that have been given the approval to operate including parents, educators, caregivers and children must fully comply with the SOPs in order to contain the spread of Covid-19,” she said.

Fatimah added unwell children and family members were not allowed to go to the nurseries and parents must inform the nurseries in advance.

On April 19, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said all education institutions including nurseries and kindergartens in the Covid-19 red zones had been instructed to close for two weeks effective April 20 in view of the increasing Covid-19 cases.  The closure has been extended until May 10.

For the record, as of April 30, there were 2,795 nurseries and 234 registered kindergartens in Sarawak. Out of the total, 2,518 nurseries and 213 taska were in the red zones.