Drive-through textbook exchange gets thumbs-up

29 Jan 2021 / 10:31 H.

PETALING JAYA: Two schools have introduced an innovative way to ensure students are able to return their old textbooks in exchange for new ones without flouting the movement control order.

Sekolah Kebangsaan (SK) St Paul in Seremban introduced a drive-through system that enables parents to drop off old textbooks and pick up new ones without having to alight from the car.

In Shah Alam, a similar system was initiated at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Bukit Jelutong, with the addition of a timetable to make it more convenient for parents.

The exchange of old textbooks for new ones is an annual process but with the Covid-19 pandemic, it is no longer possible for parents or students to go to the school office to do the exchange.

That was when SK St Paul headmaster A. Santhanasamy came up with the idea to ensure everyone observed physical distancing while exchanging books.

“We started by mapping out the route and logistics to make this possible,” he told theSun.

Santhanasamy said the idea was prompted by the need to avoid close contact.

“The old system required parents to walk into the school with the books and we realised this could raise the risk of infections,” he said.

“The safety of our staff is of utmost importance, so I thought it would be wise to introduce a drive-through system.”

Santhanasamy said the process is conducted in two sessions, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

He said staff and parents have responded positively to the new system.

“My staff are happy and they have even proposed that other programmes be structured using the same process.”

He said the drive-through system is also less stressful as it emphasises on teamwork.

“Parents of school-going children are equally delighted as it reduces waiting time and they can remain in the comfort of their vehicles while waiting for the new books,” Santhanasamy said.

He added that it takes about a minute to drop off the old books and pick up the new ones.

“The system does away with unnecessary queuing and makes things easier for everyone,” he added.

He said parent-teacher associations, as well as the state and district education departments have also given their approval for the new system.

SMK Bukit Jelutong principal Badariatul Jamal Mohd Hasnan said the difference this year is that parents are doing the exchange instead of the students.

At her school, the drive-through system is more for parents who do not wish to enter the school building to return the old books for new ones.

“We have allocated the distribution of books according to dates and sessions, giving parents options to choose a convenient time,” Badariatul Jamal added.

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