Worries for young unvaccinated children as ECCD Centers open on 28 April

The Early Childhood and Development (ECCD) Centers are preparing for the reopening of the centers across the country on 28 April and to ensure safety of children, the ECCD centers have arranged and readied the centers.

Although the ECCD centers will reopen next week, the government and ECCD facilities worry about the safety of the children since they are mainly unvaccinated.

As per Education Statistics, there are a total of 492 ECCD centers in the country, with 432 government ECCDS, 48 private ECCDS, 3 NGO and 9 corporations. And a total of 910 facilitators. Currently, more than 10,600 children aged between 3 to 5 years are enrolled in either government or private ECCD centers.

The Proprietors of ECCDs shared that they are happy that the government has announced the reopening of ECCD, but at the same it worries them since children enrolled in ECCD are mainly under five and unvaccinated.

Happy Feet ECCD in Thimphu, Sonam Dema said they will be reopening on 28th April 2022 as per the government’s schedule date. She shared that parents are coming forward to enroll their child in ECCD and the number of enrolment is more than last year.

Although the number has increased, they have kept the limited seats since most kids are unvaccinated. “We feel a little under confident but we will try our best to protect children and follow COVID-19 protocols,” said Sonam Dema.

Many parents were waiting for the reopening of ECCDs, especially those who are working parents or who have no one to look after their child. Parents share that they are worried about the virus and the way everyone is getting infected, but they have no other options than to enroll their child in ECCD where a child can learn and be taken care of as well.

Another parent who has a three-year-old son said until last year she thought she would enroll her child in ECCD but with the highly transmissible infection, she has changed her mind and keeps her son at home.

The Ministry of Education has said since the children are unvaccinated, all facilities must follow all the COVID-19 protocols strictly.

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