Covid-19: Parents want clearer school SOP should pupils, staff get infected

PETALING JAYA: Parents want more transparency when it comes to standard operating procedures (SOP) practised in schools when teachers or students are found to be infected with Covid-19.

This comes as more confirmed cases were recorded, with the latest from SJK (C) Puay Chai 2 here which was ordered to close after six pupils tested positive for the disease and 11 teachers were placed under home quarantine.

The school’s parent-teacher association chairman Loh Tian Hong said parents were not told what to do if their child’s classmate was positive for Covid-19.

“There is no black-and-white SOP or guidance given to us.

“We do not know if it is safe to send our children to school as the pupils come into close contact with each other, including going to the same daycare centre or using the same transporters,” he told The Star.

He said that parents also wanted to know how long they should be quarantined and if their child would be allowed back to school if the first test was negative.

Loh commended the school’s headmistress, Soh Swee Koon, for applying to the Health Ministry to temporarily close the school, but this was rejected as the government did not consider it to be a Covid-19 cluster.

However on Tuesday (April 13), the district education office ordered the school, located in Bandar Utama here, to be closed immediately and classes moved online.

Loh said the majority of parents were relieved, but some were concerned about childcare as they had to go to work.

Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin said to allay fears, it was better if affected schools were closed if cases are detected among teachers and students.

“Parents will be wary of sending their children to school and attendance could drop if those affected remain open,” he added.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said it was possible that the virus was spreading at daycare centres where students go before or after school.

He said these are a cross between a babysitting service and a tuition centre, and usually held in small, cramped places.

The Education Ministry declined to comment when contacted.