KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — The reopening of schools ran smoothly today in full compliance with the recovery movement control order (RMCO) standard operating procedures (SOP) and in line with the new normal in the teaching and learning (PdP) process.
After almost three months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2,440 secondary schools across the country finally reopen their doors to enable 500,444 students who are sitting for their 2020 Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) examinations and equivalent examinations to get back on track and catch up on their studies.
Bernama check on a number of schools nationwide found that as early as 7 am many teachers wearing face masks and even face shield have been waiting outside the school gate, armed with infrared thermometer guns, to check students’ body temperature before allowing them in.
At the same time, incoming students were also seen wearing face masks and observing social distancing.
In SELANGOR, most corridors at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Gombak Setia were found to have been marked with stickers to ensure social distancing both for the students and the teachers.
Recess time for the fifth formers and the upper sixth formers was also divided into three sessions to avoid congestion at the canteen.
A fifth former of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Seksyen 7 in Shah Alam, Suraya Aishah Badrul Hisham, shared her excitement for being able to return to school and “reunite” with her friends and teachers despite having to cope with the new normal.
“When the government announced that school will reopen today, I was so happy. I made sure that my uniform, shoes and bag are all ready since last week. I’m so excited to reunite with my friends and teachers even though there were procedures to comply with. It is definitely not as boring as studying alone at home,” she said.
The girl also described the reopening of school as the best chance for her to prepare herself to sit for her SPM examination.
“At home, we only study online…it’s kind of difficult to ask for clarification and to really understand what the teacher was saying without being there, face to face. So yes, I’m very happy to be able to return to school,” she said.
In PUTRAJAYA, teachers at SMK Putrajaya Presint 8 (1), were clearly seen carrying out body temperature checks on students even before they got out of their parent’s car to ensure only healthy ones were allowed to enter the school premises, while those who are symptomatic were told to go home.
Students coming by bus were required to walk about 50 metres from the bus stop to the foyer for the temperature screening and if their temperature were slightly above 37.5 Celcius, they were quickly taken to an isolation room until their parents or guardian came to take them home.
In PERAK, Usamah Ariffin Abdillah, a fifth former in SMK Anderson, Ipoh, whose right leg was amputated due to a motorcycle accident early this year, came to school today as he believed that face-to-face PdP process is way better than online.
“Throughout the movement control order (MCO) period, I had to sue my mom’s mobile phone to follow the online class, but it was difficult, especially when the Internet access was not so good,” he said.
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu was spotted visiting Sekolah Perempuan Methodist and Sekolah Menengah Jenis Kebangsaan Sam Tet in Ipoh this morning to ensure SOP compliance at the two schools.
In KELANTAN, the State Police had assigned 200 school liaison officers to help ensuring SOP compliance at secondary schools in the state.
Kelantan Deputy Chief of Police SAC Abdullah Mohamad Piah said a traffic policeman was also stationed outside each school to prevent a mass gathering of students.
“At SMK Ismail Petra, all the 177 students who came to the school today wore the face masks, and have their attendance recorded and body temperature checked. Social distancing was well observed in all classrooms, while during recess, the students had their food delivered to them and didn’t have to go to the canteen,” he said after visiting the school.
In PENANG, State Education director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad who checked the situation at SMK Raja Tun Uda, Bayan Lepas, said that each school in the state has its own monitoring team led by a law enforcement officer to ensure SOP compliance.
At the SMK Raja Uda alone, six body temperature check counters were set up by the school administrators facilitate the process for the students, while 20 classrooms were opened to accommodate 245 fifth formers, with each classroom has only 18 students.
During recess, only one class representative was allowed to take food from the canteen for distribution in classroom.
In MELAKA, Chief Minister Datuk Sulaiman Md Ali checked the situation at SMK Ayer Keroh, after which he expressed hope that the reopening of the school would give a morale booster to the students in their preparation to sit for their examinations.
A total of 13,640 students will sit for this year’s SPM, SVM, STPM and STAM examinations in Melaka.
In JOHOR, Bernama check at SMK Seri Perling, which has 337 Form Five students, found that the movement of the students was well under control in full compliance with the SOP.
Despite each and every one of them was compelled to wear a face mask, the happy sound of their voices and laughter was more than enough to prove that they were absolutely ecstatic to be back at school.