The COVID-19 pandemic has been a risk to personal safety, and it has been anything but fun.  It not only has wrecked the world economy, but it has stifled our educational system as well.  As bad as it has been, it has also been a blessing:  Malaysians and people the world over has started looking at work-life balance while weighing their priorities. 

Finding the fulcrum between working so you can feed your family to keeping your family safe from the spread of COVID-19 has been a difficult task, but Malaysians are finding their way. 

In the beginning, we didn’t know what was right.  We didn’t really know what precautions to take or to what level of enforcement we should implement to minimise the spread of COVID-19.  Now that a couple of years have gone by, the world has refined its’ processes and so have we.  Here are some new and revised considerations we at LHS have taken, and some we have encouraged our parents to take as well in order to keep our students, children and staff safe at LHS.

Consider the Risks of Sending Your Child To School or Daycare/Safety

Because of the COVID-19 public health emergency, instructional formats such as class size, setting, and daily schedules look drastically different than in past years. There are risks and benefits, pros and cons, to these different educational formats. For example, in-person instruction may offer easier access to school services, improved educational efficacy, more opportunities for social interaction and return to work for some parents and caregivers.  At the same time, it also has a higher risk of COVID-19 exposure for your child, and ultimately, your family than virtual instruction.

Families will differ in their choice of instructional formats based on many factors:

Is the student or any members of the household at an increased risk of severe illness?

What are the student’s academic needs?

What is the level of COVID-19 spread in the community?

What available school transportation options are available and are they safe?

What is the school’s ability to execute recommended guidelines?

What are the social-emotional wellbeing and needs of each student?

What are the family’s situation and needs?

As you are making decisions about your child(ren) returning to school, it is important to consider the full spectrum of risks involved in both in-person and virtual learning options.

Your child’s school has a ton of influence on a child’s health and well – physical, mental and emotional. The in-person school environment not only provides educational instruction, but supports a child’s social and emotional skills, safety, speech, mental health, reliable nutrition, and opportunities for physical activity.

Does Your Child Have an Increased Risk of Serious Harm from COVID-19?

For children at an increased health risk, parents and caregivers may need to take additional precautions with regard to school re-entry. There are more COVID-19 cases reported among children with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as those with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.  Severe illness means that they may require hospitalization, intensive care, or a ventilator to help them breathe.

Review Your School’s Plans to Reduce Risk

Review your local school’s or school district’s plans so you can better understand the steps they are taking to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and support educational goals.

Schools can implement strategies across 4 key areas to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  1. Promoting positive behaviors that reduce the spread of germs and bacteria (e.g., social distancing, washing hands and wearing cloth face coverings).
  2. Maintaining healthy learning environments (e.g., ensuring proper ventilation, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces regularly).
  3. Maintaining healthy operations within classrooms and at meal/playtimes (e.g., staggering schedules, keeping students in small groups, observing social distancing measures).
  4. Preparing for when someone gets sick and having a contingency plan in place for if/when it happens.

 LHS’ New COVID Implementations:

Practice safe distancing

Social distancing, or physical distancing, is the practice of allowing enough space between individuals to reduce the spread of disease. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend keeping at least 6 feet (2 meters) of space between yourself and people outside your household to meet these goals.

Steps to encourage social distancing during in-person schooling may include:

  • Eliminating lockers or grouping them by student groups, or cohorts;
  • Creating one-way traffic in school hallways;
  • Using outdoor spaces when possible, for instruction, meals and recess;
  • Reducing the number of children on school buses;
  • Spacing desks out and having them all face in the same direction;
  • Using physical barriers, such as plexiglass shields and partitions, to separate educators and students;
  • Dividing students up into distinct groups or cohorts that stay together during the school day and reducing interaction between different groups.

Wear masks

Wear a face mask in indoor public spaces, such as schools. If you are in an area with a high number of new COVID-19 cases, wear a mask outdoors in crowded areas or when you are in close contact with others who aren’t fully vaccinated.

If your child’s school requires or encourages the use of cloth face masks, consider these tips:

  • Wearing cloth face masks should be a priority especially when it’s hard to maintain social distance, such as on the bus, at carpool drop-off or pickup, and when entering the building.
  • Have multiple cloth face masks available for your child. Provide your child with a clean mask and back-up mask each day and a clean, resealable bag for them to store the mask when they can’t wear it, such as at lunch.
  • Label your child’s mask clearly so it’s not confused with another child’s.
  • Practice properly putting on and taking off cloth face masks with your child while avoiding touching the cloth portions.
  • Remind your child that they should clean their hands before and after touching their mask.
  • Instruct your child to never share or trade masks with others.
  • Talk to your child about the importance of wearing a face mask and model wearing them as a family.
  • Discuss with your child why some people may not be able to wear face masks for medical reasons.

Wash hands regularly

Practice handwashing at home with your child and explain why it’s important to wash his or her hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after eating, coughing/sneezing, or adjusting a face mask. To prevent rushing, suggest washing hands for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. When handwashing isn’t available, suggest that your child use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Also, explain that he or she should avoid touching his or her eyes, nose, and mouth.

Schools in PJ and Malaysia should encourage routines that encourage frequent handwashing and following good hand hygiene practices, such as asking children to cover their mouths and noses with their elbows or tissues when they cough or sneeze and then washing their hands.

If your child attends in-person schooling, develop daily routines before and after school that foster healthy habits, such as packing a back-up face mask and hand sanitizer in the morning and washing their hands as soon as they come home.

Clean and disinfect

Whether your child is being schooled at home or at school, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces can help reduce the risk of illness. This includes frequently touched items such as doorknobs, faucets, keyboards, tablets and phones.  Little Human Scholars preschool, playschool, kindie and daycare centre has had strict and rigorous disinfecting processes before the COVID-19 pandemic, and continues to enforce this program within their walls.  Sending your child to a school that has staunch disinfection processes may greatly minimise the chances of your child contracting the virus.

If sick, stay home

You should monitor your child each day for signs of COVID-19. These include:

  • Fever
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor appetite
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Belly pain
  • Pink eye

Some schools may recommend daily temperature readings as a part of COVID-19 symptom screening. Again, Little Human Scholars in PJ has been doing this since first opening their doors in 2015.  But since many of these symptoms overlap with other conditions, such as the common cold, allergies and influenza, the effectiveness of this screening can be limited.

To limit the spread of COVID-19 as well as other germs, children should stay home from school and other activities if they have any signs of illness or a fever. Contact your doctor if you have questions.

Don’t skip vaccinations

Whether classes are happening at school or at home, make sure your child is up to date with all recommended vaccines and boosters. All school-aged children should get a flu shot each season. Getting a flu vaccine is especially important this season because the flu and COVID-19 cause similar common signs and symptoms. Although the flu shot does not protect against COVID-19, it can reduce the risk of the flu and its complications. It’s another layer of defense to help prevent missed school days.

This partial lockdown has impacted Malaysia in many ways – economically, mentally, fiscally, and emotionally.  As such, we wanted to send an announcement to stay strong!  This has not been an easy year for anyone, but as a country we are resilient.

If there is anything this year has taught us, it has been that this interruption in our busy non-stop schedules has given us the time to stop and consider not only our own well-being, but the well-being of others including our children.  Every action we take has to be considered:  we have moved from a win-lose type of mentality to a win-win mentality, and while many of us have suffered professionally, lost loved ones, and have had to pivot hard to make ends meet, a new compassion for everyone was birthed.

Stay safe Malaysia and stay strong and healthy!  Let’s start embodying this with our schools!

About Little Human Scholars Preschool, Playschool, Kindie and Daycare in PJ

Little Human Scholars is an all-in-one childcare solution.  It is a preschool, playschool, kindergarten, nursery and full-day daycare centre (with extended hours) located in the heart of PJ.

In fact, the location is one of the things which makes Little Human Scholars so sought after – it is conveniently nestled near Jalan Gasing, University hospital, PJ Old town, PJ New town, Jaya One, Jaya33, and the PJ IT Mall.

The best part is LHS school in PJ has premiere services many other schools in PJ don’t offer such as full-day daycare with extended hours, CCTV access for parents, and a nifty little phone app that provides parents with automatic updates on their child’s development, behaviour and health checks.

With full-time guards always present at each of their locations, access to CCTV (which is in every room except the office, bathroom and kitchen areas), and very strict pick-up and drop-off rules, Little Human Scholars treats every child who walks into its hallways as one of their own children!

This place has it all:  location, safety, health, IGSCE curriculum and play-based learning.  What more could you ask for?  Did I mention they also have transportation services and offer meal plans for students?  It doesn’t get any better than that.

If you are interested in a tour of one of our centres (that’s right, there’s more than one), all you need to do is fill out the form here or call +6017-7303-025 and an LHS administrative staff will get back with you shortly!