KOTA KINABALU: Strict precautions or standard operating procedures (SOPs) inspire confidence among parents to allow their children to return to taska (childcare centre or preschool). Taska Jolly Learners and Tadika Jati principal Creena Alison Wong said her taska received approximately 20 percent of returning students, who had initially pulled out during the Movement Control Order.
She attributed this to tight SOPs, which she was told were stricter than that prescribed by the authorities.
“A team from the State Health Department inspected the taska yesterday and they said our SOP was even stricter than what was required of us. For example, we would be taking students’ temperature five times a day instead of three times daily. Students would also be required to wash their hands every 30 minutes.
“In the event of a Covid-19 case, we would close the school for 14 days instead of the five days instructed by authorities, following the Covid-19 incubation period,” said Alison. She shared that her teachers and parents alike were very happy about the impending reopening of the taska, and the strict SOP provided an extra incentive for parents.
Alison assured operators that a tight SOP would not scare parents away, as in her case, it encouraged parents to allow their children to return to the school.
Alison further emphasised the importance of parents and schools working together, as strict SOPs would enable them to fight the virus.
“Another SOP we would implement is taking the parents’ temperature when they send their children to school. If the parents have a temperature of above 37.5 celsius, we would not allow the child to enter the school.
“Some parents may argue and say their child is not sick, but we do not want to take any risks. Therefore, we really need parents to cooperate with the school. Working together, we can fight this (virus),” she said.
Alison also revealed that parents would be able to monitor their child from home or work, thanks to the web-based application BridgED, which records the students’ temperature and keeps the parents updated.
The application acts as a one-stop system for pre-school centres, comprising features such as e-registration, e-portfolio, e-communication and an alert system, as well as other daily school affairs that allows teachers to be dedicated to teaching and learning in classrooms with a more centralised system.
With the small number of students currently registered to attend physical classes once the school reopens, Alison said it was easy to observe social distancing, by creating “social bubbles in school,” minimising the movement of subject teachers and assigning a small number of children to a fixed area, while maintaining a fun and loving environment for children despite the physical distancing.
She added that for now, physical classes could be carried out five days a week. However, if the number of students increase, Alison said the school would opt for two days of physical classes and three days of online classes via the online platform, Zoom.
She said parents would be required to update the school monthly on their child’s attendance, so as to assist the school in planning for lessons.
“To be fair to everyone, we are planning it month by month. If parents do not wish to send their children to taska, the children will have lessons via Zoom. We don’t want to be indefinite and in order to help the school plan, especially with social distancing in effect, parents need to inform the school on a month-to-month basis on their child’s attendance,” said Alison.
She also thanked the State Health Department for dispatching teams to inspect taska in Kota Kinabalu so as to expedite reopening, as each premises was required to undergo inspection so as to ensure SOPs were in place.