Parents happy as more students return to school

Azlan Othman

Parents are grateful that their children can now go back to school after more than a three-month hiatus following COVID-19.

School sessions for pre-schools to Year 5 for primary schools under the Ministry of Education (MoE), Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) and private schools as well as Arabic schools under MoRA reopen today following the decision made by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and MoE last Tuesday.

“It is nice for the students to reunite with friends after a long time. As schools prepare for the return of students, it is important to remind schoolchildren, teachers and parents of their responsibilities in ensuring a safe learning environment, while fighting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hajah Aini, a mother of three.

“As schools will conduct face-to-face learning and home-based learning alternately within the week, I need to make my own timetable of when to send and to pick up as my children will undergo conventional and Religious schools on different school days.

School sessions in classrooms will focus on the new normal and the amended school rules so that they will understand the issue at hand and adapt to the new norm,” she said.

“As for learning and group sessions, teachers will keep a safe distance in the classroom.

Despite the country recovering from the pandemic, students must take precautionary measures and not assume that the virus has been eradicated.

“Students are advised to wear masks and maintain self-cleanliness such as using hand sanitisers and washing hands frequently with soap,” Hajah Aini said.

Another parent, Suzie said, “It has been three months since they last received guidance from teachers physically. They will now have to enter a different situation. They don’t have much time left to complete this year’s curriculum before the year-end exams,” she said.

“As such, parents need to help their children focus and prepare them for the exams. During the long break, parents printed classwork, homework given by the teachers and taught them at home.

“Staying away at home for too long is not good as it affects their mental health. Children tend to take advantage of extended school break by playing games at home,” Suzie said.

Meanwhile as tuition and music schools reopen today under the guideline of no more than five students in each classroom, a spokesperson for a tuition school said they will split the students for classes with too many students.

“We will scrutinise the classroom by adhering to the social distancing guidelines and will relocate extra students. Students will be asked to wear face masks, sanitise their hands and scan their BruHealth QR code upon entry to the school and to have their body temperature taken,” the spokesperson said.

The MoE outlined the protocols to minimise the number of students (BCP in classroom), schools can opt for a mixture of stay at school ([email protected]) and home-based learning (HBL) where teachers can teach via video-conferencing for students with Internet access at home, and those who do not have can attend school.

Small schools, especially those with Internet connectivity issues, can do [email protected] five days in a week. Vulnerable students and those showing symptoms are advised to do HBL five days in a week. Parents are required to immediately take their child from school if they develop any symptoms while in school. Individualised Education Plan (IEP) students can do one day [email protected] and four days HBL, and remedial education plan (REP) students can do three days [email protected] and two days HBL.