Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Brunei Town

Students assemble as schools get back to business

Azlan Othman, Adib Noor & Daniel Lim

Educational institutions nationwide yesterday welcomed the return of students, regardless of vaccination status, with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) in place to ensure the safety of the school populace.

This included government and private institutions under the control of the Ministry of Education (MoE); religious schools and Arabic schools under the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) as well as childcare centres under the control of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

To mark the occasion, Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman and Deputy Minister of Education Datin Seri Paduka Dr Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh conducted separate working visits to educational institutions to observe the SOPs and facilities provided to curb the spread of COVID-19. This included the antigen rapid test (ART) area and self-isolation room. The pair was also briefed on the back-to-school programme dubbed Siuknya Ke Sekolah programme.

Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah and his delegation visited Sungai Teraban Primary School, Ahmad Tajuddin Primary School and Kuala Belait Primary School, where they were welcomed by headmistress Hajah Sarina binti Haji Yahya, headmaster Khairul bin Mashud and headmistress Noorirmawati binti Noorashid.

After inspecting the school facilities, including the classrooms, library and computer lab, the minister offered words of motivation to parents, students and teachers.

Separately, Datin Seri Paduka Dr Hajah Romaizah visited Bakiau Primary School, Panchong Primary School and Rambai Primary School, where she was welcomed by headmistress Mariana binti Abdullah Maduan, teacher Haji Mazleadifirdaus bin Haji Ramlee and headmistress Hajah Hasnita binti Haji Musa.

The deputy minister witnessed the conducting of the ART screening and various school activities, before advising students to work hard to achieve academic success.


ABOVE & BELOW: Photos show Minister of Education Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Hamzah bin Haji Sulaiman interacting with students at Kuala Belait and Ahmad Tajuddin primary schools. PHOTOS: AZLAN OTHMAN, DANIEL LIM, ADIB NOOR & MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School students check their temperature
RPN Lambak Kanan Jalan 1 Religious School students reciting Surah Yaasiin
ABOVE & BELOW: Deputy Minister of Education Datin Seri Paduka Dr Hajah Romaizah binti Haji Mohd Salleh observes a student at Panchong Primary School; the deputy minister during a visit to Rambai Primary School; and a Muhammad Alam Primary School student sanitises his hands before entering the classroom

ABOVE & BELOW: Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School Principal Haryani binti Haji Mohammed speaks to the Sunday Bulletin; and Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School students during class

A Muhammad Alam Primary School teacher briefs the students

Meanwhile, Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School in Mukim Kilanas saw a beehive of activities, with the familiar sounds of student chatter filling the hallways.

Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School Principal Haryani binti Haji Mohammed said, “Alhamdulillah, we are able to welcome our students as well as teaching and support staff back to the school.

“The school anticipated that 80 per cent of the 1,028 secondary students would turn up on the first day of in-person classes.”

Haryani also said, “Compared to previous school terms, preparations to safely receive the students ran much smoother, with parents and students now familiar with the Ministry of Health (MoH) issued guidelines and SOPs to be practised at school”.

The SOPs require that parents conduct an ART screening on their children every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday, the results of which must be forwarded to the class teacher via WhatsApp or an e-form.

Parents are also required to be punctual in picking-up their children to minimise after-school gatherings, and to ensure their children bring along face masks.

Students, who show flu-like symptoms such as fever and cough, should not attend classes. Schools will run temperature checks on students and make available hand sanitisers to provide an extra layer of protection.

“It is highly encouraging to see parents showing their support by following the SOPs.

Likewise, students clearly understand the importance of wearing face masks and practising social distancing. With everyone working together, we are confident the school will remain a safe learning environment,” the principal said.

A safe environment to accommodate face-to-face learning is vital to achieving the “school’s goal of narrowing the educational gap caused by months of online learning”, she added.

Sharing the sentiment, Year 11 student Sharifah Nur Sofea binti Habib Abdul Rashid said, “I am glad to be back at school and to be able to hold face-to-face discussions with friends and teachers, when in doubt. In-person classes are better as teachers can tell from our faces if we are ‘lost’ in the subject. I truly missed this.

“After alternating between online and in-person classes, I can honestly say that my friends and I don’t want to go back to online learning.”

Meanwhile, Hajah Nor Ernee Slawaty binti Haji Abdul Razak said, “My children were eager to head back to school, so it required little preparation on my part.

“Additionally, we are now more familiar with what to expect when it comes to SOPs and the resumption of physical classes.”

Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School students started their day with the recitation of Doa and a Breakfast Day.

At Muhammad Alam Primary School in Seria, spirits were high with the return of 159 Kindergarteners to Year 6 students.

Parents and children waited their turn to conduct the ART at the school hall, with the school staff guiding them through the entire process.

Muhammad Alam Primary School Headmistress Risrani binti Haji Abdul Halim said several classroom activities have been lined up to help students re-adapt to the classroom learning environment.

“Additionally, teachers will hold engaging icebreakers for the first week to help re-ignite students’ spirit. They will also explain to students the SOPs as well as the do’s and don’ts while at school to help lower the chance of a COVID-19 spread,” she said.

Parent Salim bin Haji Mohd Ali said, “I am happy that my son can go back to physical classes, as studying online can be difficult.”

Meanwhile, students at RPN Lambak Kanan Jalan 1 Religious School started their first day of in-person classes with the recitation of Surah Yaasiin, Doa and colouring of Hari Raya green packets.

Parents were reminded to provide their children with hand towels, drinks, hand sanitiser and prayer mats.

For the first week of re-opening, primary schools will roll out a host of activities under the Siuknya Ke Sekolah programme to help students readjust to the learning environment.

Activities will include prayers, as well as remembrance, familiarisation and motivational sessions.