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Twenty-six of the 53 private Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centres have reopened. The reopening of the ECCD centres, which are critically important for early stimulation to foster creative, intellectual and social development of young minds, the Covid-19 pandemic is still a major threat and extra care much be taken to ensure safety for all.

The July 15 notification from the Prime Minister’s Office to reopen the ECCD centres, we believe, was carefully studied. The decision to re-open the centres was based on the agreement between the proprietors and the parents. Strict observance of the safety protocols is one of the main components, yes, but are we confident enough to let it flow this way?

Guidelines that require observance of health, hygiene and safety precautions are important. What we do not know that physical distance is maintained and emergency preparedness is in place. According to the guidelines, the thromde and dzongkhag education officers will monitor the centres. This happening, all is good. Otherwise, we could be putting on the campus in dangerous. The way the pandemic spreads, we cannot take things lightly.

There could be pressure from parents, of course. What decision we make is by far more important. If wearing face masks, using thermometer, maintaining physical distance, and using sanitisers are enough to keep the pandemic at bay, opening schools and ECCD centres makes sense. At the centre of it all is care and vigilance where things have high chances of going wrong.

Many centres have decided not to re-open because they are not confident and parents are reluctant to send their children to the centre. Have we begun to take the pandemic lightly?

Who is going to ensure that the thromde and dzongkhag education officers are monitoring the centres? More importantly, what’s enough and what’s not in the face of the pandemic? We are just beginning to understand how the virus can spread and there is more to it. We still do not a whole lot about it.

To re-open the centres and schools was not a wise decision. But we can overturn the decision. It is not too late. The pandemic is still a major threat.

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