Forum: Parents should be told as soon as children fall ill in pre-schools

As a parent with young children, I am concerned about how local pre-schools and kindergartens handle cases of food poisoning and infectious diseases (Number of sick pupils from pre-school rises to 60, Dec 10).

The way the pre-school in Newton responded to the recent incident brings to mind how it was handled at my child's school.

In our case, we found out through fellow parents who shared that their children were ill with food poisoning symptoms. By the time the school sent a formal communication to all parents, there were at least eight known cases, diagnosed over a period of two weeks.

The school then took another week to respond to us on specific actions taken. Food samples from the food caterer were taken for testing, and the results were shared with parents nearly three months after the outbreak. While waiting for test results, the school used the same food caterer.

Parents should be informed as soon as multiple cases of any disease have been reported to the school or when several children display similar symptoms.

By doing so, parents can help to look out for symptoms in their children and keep them at home to prevent further infection. More importantly, informed parents can ensure that their children receive medical attention promptly, especially in cases where the disease is life-threatening.

Keeping parents in the dark not only jeopardises the well-being of young children but could also have severe ramifications on public health, as we have witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

On this note, could the Early Childhood Development Agency comment on the protocols that pre-schools and kindergartens should follow when it comes to infectious disease management?

When should parents and the health authorities be informed after cases of infectious disease emerge within a school?

Who is responsible for assessing that remediation steps are implemented well enough to prevent a repeat incident?

Luah Jiun Yih

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