All systems go

Contributed by Corporate Communications Division, Ministry of Education

With the second school term starting today, schools nationwide have been preparing for the return of students to physical class sessions.

Today, all students from government and private schools under the purview of the Ministry of Education (MoE) and Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA), including five to 11-year-olds, regardless of their vaccination status, will be welcomed to schools.

As COVID-19 restrictions ease in the country, the safety and protection of the entire members of the school community remain an utmost priority.

Thus, with the support and advice from the Ministry of Health (MoH), all schools have prepared the COVID-19 guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) that must be followed and adhered to by all members of the school community, especially students.

These guidelines and SOPs including wearing face masks, maintaining cleanliness and hand hygiene, checking body temperature, frequent antigen rapid tests (ART) and using the BruHealth app will become the new school routine.

PREPARATIONS FOR SMOOTH BACK-TO-SCHOOL TRANSITION

In an interview, Acting Director of Schools at the MoE Dr Sheikh Lukman bin Sheikh Abdul Hamid said, “The Education Affairs Committee, set up by the MoE and MoRA, has provided the ‘Whole School Modification Approach’, comprehensive measures and guidelines for all schools in the implementation of the school re-opening. These are in addition to schools’ existing business continuity plan (BCP).”

Dr Sheikh Lukman also shared, “All primary school students will be required to perform ART screening during the first week of school. They will be gathered in a hall, in which its capacity will not exceed 300 people. This is also to ensure the well-being and safety of all members of the school community.

A set-up at Keriam Primary School’s hall for students to conduct their ART screening. PHOTO: MOE
An isolation room is ready at Batang Mitus Primary School for students showing flu-like symptoms. PHOTO: MOE

“The ART screening will be held three times a week, which is on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.

“In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, schools will use the ‘Ring Fencing’ strategy where if a student is found positive COVID-19 or showing flu-like symptoms at schools, they will be ushered to the isolation room set up for containment before they are brought home by their parents. A detailed briefing on health and safety guidelines will also be held for all students.”

“Parents or guardians are urged to refrain from sending their children with symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, flu and so on. I also advise all parents or guardians to prepare tissues, face towels, extra face masks and home-packed food and drinks according to their children’s needs for them to bring to schools,” he added.

Among other preparations for students’ smooth back-to-school transition include informing parents or guardians in advance regarding the current COVID-19 guidelines and SOPs, putting up posters on walls and along the hallways, providing hand sanitisers in every checkpoint and ensuring classrooms are clean, well-ventilated and the seating arrangements are at least a metre apart. This was confirmed by Afrah Izzat binti Haji Tejuddin of Lambak Kanan Jalan 49 Primary School.

SCHOOLS ARE SAFE FOR FACE-TO-FACE LEARNING

In gaining parents’ confidence to bring their children back to schools, Afrah Izzat said, “Parents or guardians can be rest assured that their children will always be safe at school. All hands are on deck for all teachers in monitoring the students at all times.

“In physical class sessions, I believe learning can be delivered more effectively. Face-to-face learning is crucial, especially for those students who need improvement in a specific subject.

On top of that, we teachers can also finish our tasks on time and have control over students’ learning and discipline. Students will also have the opportunity to do group work with their classmates,” she added.

Simultaneously, parents or guardians have also made school preparations for their children. Such preparations include getting essential back-to-school supplies ready such as textbooks, bags, stationary items and so forth. Furthermore, it is fundamental for parents to educate their children, especially those aged five to 11, on the current COVID-19 guidelines and procedures.

Haji Razman bin Haji Usop, a parent of a student from Serasa Primary School, expressed his confidence in bringing his child to school.

He said, “Alhamdulillah, the increasing number of vaccinated students aged five to 11 made us parents feel more secure about bringing our children to attend physical learning in schools.”

“For everyone’s safety and my daughter’s own protection, I took her to get the COVID-19 vaccination. I also made sure she understands the COVID-19 SOPs that we have adopted all this while so she can adapt to the back-to-school environment easily,” he added.

In ensuring all primary students are able to adjust themselves to the new routine, school leaders and teachers will welcome them and ensure the students’ adhere to the schools’ COVID-19 guidelines and SOPs.

In addition, the MoE introduced the Siuknya Ke Sekolah Programme which will be conducted at all primary schools. The programme comprises some fun-filled activities including ice-breaking sessions, motivational talks, Doa and Zikir sessions and many more.

According to headmistress of Mabohai Primary School Dayangku Hajah Azmida Diana binti Pengiran Haji Damit, the Siuknya Ke Sekolah Programme aims to stimulate creativity, competitiveness and team-building spirits among the students.

“The programme also encourages students to develop close relationships as they have not met each other for almost a year,” she said.

Sharing his excitement, Mohd Asfa Mauluddin bin Mohd Dahlan, a Year 5 student from Mabohai Primary School, said, “I look forward to meeting my friends at school.

“I want to learn in class just like before, especially when my friends are around me. I will also make sure to follow the school’s SOPs to keep myself and everyone else safe.”

Apart from the full-fledged preparations by all members of the school community including school leaders, teachers and staff in ensuring the safe return of all students, support and engagement from parents or guardians are highly encouraged. It is hoped that their support and involvement can create a positive impact on students’ personal and educational development.