KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 20 — The reopening of schools last June was indeed a relief for students, teachers and parents, after they were closed for about three months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, in the eagerness of the students and teachers to go back to school to resume their face-to-face teaching and learning session that had been suspended due to the outbreak of the disease since March, parents are the ones that worried most about children’s safety in school.
Aware of the concern, various changes and preparations were made by the Education Ministry (MOE) and the school authorities to ensure students and teachers are safe and do not risk being infected by COVID-19 so that the school session could run smoothly.
Two months since the reopening of schools last June 24, a survey conducted by Bernama found that most parents are satisfied with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) implemented in schools to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The SOPs included the requirement for students, teachers and others having dealings with the school authorities to check their body temperature everyday before entering the school premises, and for parents to not send their children who are not well and with symptoms to the school.
The move is inline with the school reopening management guidelines issued by the Health Ministry (MOH) and the National Security Council (NSC) last April.
President of the Parents and Teachers Association (PIBG) of Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Tamil Segambut, K. Selvakumar believed the spread of COVID-19 among school children could be avoided if everybody in school were to comply with the prescribed SOP.
“The existing SOP by the Ministry of Education is good and adequate because it was formulated after many discussions a few months before the school reopened to ensure the safety of students, teachers and the public.
“To ensure full compliance with the SOP, the PTAs also have to play their role by working with the school. For example, we (PTA) channel aid to schools by sponsoring several gadgets or devices to scan body temperature and hand sanitiser ,” he said.
He said members of the school PTA could also help the school by controlling the movement of students to school to avoid congestion.
Selvakumar said parents should also educate their children at home on the importance of maintaining physical distance, as well as personal hygiene, like washing the hands often, and to wear the face mask.
Meanwhile, Perdip Singh, 42, whose son is in Year Six at Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Seri Gombak, said the school had succeeded in making the students and parents to abide by the SOP outlined by the MOE.
“Even before the school reopened, the school shared a video link on the SOP to be observed in schools and classrooms to parents,” he added.
As announced by MOE, schools which have students sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM), as well as international examinations, reopened on June 24.
The school sessions for Year Five, Year Six, Form Six, Remove Classes, and Form One to Four, reopened on July 15, while Year One to Four students started returning to school on July 22.