Schools get ready for reopening with health, social distancing measures

Lyna Mohamad

After a long break due to COVID-19 outbreak, schools will reopen tomorrow in phases starting with students sitting for examinations such as Years 6, 10 Express and 11.

The Bulletin spoke to several schools about the preparations for the reopening.

Deputy Headmaster of Haji Mohammad Salleh Primary School in Sungai Hanching Md Salleh Hamidy bin Julidy said they began with a study on the impact of online learning including mental health.

“Using available data, our plans for the school reopening included tackling academic issues and mental health among both teachers and students. Logistic wise, we will follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) provided by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Education (MoE),” said Md Salleh Hamidy.

Measures adopted include spaced-out sitting arrangements in classes, canteen and social distancing measures in drop-off and pick-up zones. The school also purchased additional hand sanitiser and soaps on top of those provided by the MoE.

“We conducted a survey on how many students have allergic reaction to hand sanitisers and soap as well as how many parents can provide packed food for the students. We are doing our best to educate the students, parents and teachers on COVID-19 and what we expect of them when school reopens by sending copies of our SOP.”

ABOVE & BELOW: A Haji Mohammad Salleh Primary School staff provides hand sanitiser during a trial run during the preparations for the school reopening; and school staff wash hands in a designated area. PHOTOS: LYNA MOHAMAD

Awang Semaun Secondary School staff spraypaints the walkway to a jetty

The deputy headmaster hoped the school community is able to adapt to the new normal and continue learning as best as possible, particularly those sitting for the Primary School Assessment (PSR) examinations.

Meanwhile, Principal of Awang Semaun Secondary School (SMAS) Siti Marienah binti Haji Umar said the school is ready to welcome the students who have been on a break since March 1.

She said MoE briefed school leaders on the plans for reopening schools at the end of last month and the preparations needed.

The schools were provided guidelines on how to maintain hygiene, social distancing and other preventative measures.

With the new guidelines, the school identified places that needed the changes. Changes included student drop-off and pick-up zones, temperature checks at three entry points, provision of hand sanitisers and sitting rearrangement.

“As SMAS is on both land and water with most students using boats to school, the school carried out a dry run with the assistance from the Transport Unit of the MoE to simulate the condition of the school jetty to fine tune the procedures,” said the principal.

The school made changes to teaching and learning timetables so that there is a mix of traditional and home-based learning. With the new system, e-learning will continue.

The school also made changes to recess sessions to avoid crowding and allow
social distancing.

The principal noted that the Department of Schools provided face masks, hand sanitisers and hand soaps for the students’ daily use. The school also made its own BruHealth QR code.