GEORGE TOWN: Many schools and preschools in Penang have been thrown into disarray following the confirmation of the first Covid-19 case in the state.
Some of them issued last-minute notices to families, requesting that children of parents working at the Motorola site in Bayan Lepas be kept home.
Several schools have gone a step further, disallowing children who have relatives working at the same plant.
One mother, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she was shocked to be told that her daughter would not be admitted to her kindergarten.
“My brother works at Motorola but I’m not sure how the kindergarten knew.
“I told them that my brother does not live in the same house as us, but they said for safety reasons, my child could not go to school today (yesterday), ” she said.
The parent, who is working full-time, said she was not prepared for this and had to apply for emergency leave to take care of her daughter.
“I have been in contact with my brother a couple times over the last two weeks but I do not know if he has been in contact with the Covid-19 patient, ” she said.It was earlier reported that a Motorola spokesman had confirmed that one of its engineers tested positive for the virus on Monday.
Another parent lamented the lack of directives from authorities.
“We don’t know if schools have the authority to reject children. If there is a clear policy, then we can talk to our bosses to see if we can work from home for the next two weeks, ” a 35-year-old father said.
A state Health Department official said currently, schools did not have the authority to reject students from going to school. All instructions on the matter would need to adhere to Health Ministry’s instructions, said the officer who declined to be named.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow issued a statement saying the state was working closely with its Health Department to deal with the outbreak.
“At this time, the state respects and supports the protocols and SOP that are being practised by the Health Ministry in facing the Covid-19 outbreak.
“It is not deemed to be necessary for the state to create new protocols seeing that the Health Ministry’s practices are based on World Health Organisation guidelines, ” he said.