KUALA LUMPUR: After going through the saga of school closures which saw schools forced to halt physical operations due to spikes in Covid-19 cases, schools across the country will finally reopen in stages starting this Monday (March 1).
The reopening of the school session on Monday starts with preschoolers, Year One and Year Two pupils while Year Three to Year Six pupils will start attending school on March 8.
Secondary schools will commence sessions on April 4 for those in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu, and on March 5 for the other states.
Although the Covid-19 situation has yet to subside, the move is seen as necessary to balance the need for access to education in a safe environment to ensure students do not lag behind in their studies.
The implementation of home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) following the enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to contain the pandemic came as a culture shock for parents, teachers and students alike.
PdPR, coupled with various issues such as poor internet access and the lack of devices which was feared could result in dropouts among students especially those from the B40 group and rural areas, made people realise that the face-to-face teaching and learning method is more effective.
Explaining the rationale behind the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) decision (to reopen schools), its minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin had said that it was made based on input and feedback from all parties.
“The decision to allow primary school pupils to attend school sessions earlier is to give students and teachers space to adapt to the new norms as well as the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set,” he said, referring to the SOP in place to curb transmission of the virus.
Meanwhile, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who is the Coordinating Minister for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, has also said that the government would try to get a total of 55,539 teachers who are categorised as high risk, immunised in the first phase of the programme.
Not taking the SOP aspect lightly, the MOE has also distributed the School Reopening Management Guidelines and Models for Pupil Control at School Gates to all schools nationwide.
The guidelines encompass various aspects, from students entering the school gate, while at school as well as when returning home.
The reopening of schools this Monday also sees the MOE allowing students without school uniforms to wear appropriate, smart and decent attire to attend classes from March 1 to 26.
Apart from primary schools, Vocational Colleges will also open on March 1 while international schools and private educational institutions including tuition centres are to reopen on March 8.
However, the face-to-face school session has been postponed to March 14 for Sarawak schools in the Kuching, Samarahan, Julau, Meradong, Sibu, Kapit, Bintulu, Subis and Miri districts, due to the current Covid-19 situation in these areas. -Bernama