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Smooth start to new school year

21 Jan 2021 / 12:51 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: School bells, long silenced by the Covid-19 pandemic, rang at schools yesterday.

However, only a small portion of students answered its call to start lessons for the day.

With the country still under lockdown, only students sitting for public examinations were allowed back to attend classes.

Others will have to continue home-learning on the internet until the movement control order (MCO) is lifted.

In Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, students came as early as 7am, all looking cheerful to meet with classmates and teachers after a long eight-month break.

Student Irfan Danial Suhaimi, 18, of Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan (SMK) Putrajaya Precinct 9(2) said he could not wait to get back to his books again with his friends, in preparation for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examination.

“After a long time, it’s good to be able to have our group discussions again. We have a lot of revision to do before the examination,” he said.

At SMK Batu Muda in Sentul, students were briefed by the school management on the standard operating procedures (SOP), for everyone to be safe in order for school sessions to run smoothly, Bernama reported.

In Perak, a total of 28,637 students will be sitting for the SPM examination.

A check at several schools in Ipoh revealed that students and teachers were complying strictly with the SOP, including practising physical distancing. Some were wearing colourful face masks with fancy designs.

Perak Education director Dr Suhaimi Mohamed Ali said face-to-face learning would involve a total of 40,810 students, while 361,245 others will be studying from home.

In Perlis, some students were not in their school attire as certain schools had been given flexibility, to alleviate the burden on families who could not afford to buy new uniforms in these difficult times.

School sessions in Terengganu resumed with the State Education Department monitoring the situation to ensure the SOP was strictly adhered to by staff and students, with 22,926 candidates sitting for the examination this year.

Meanwhile in Kedah, a total of 32,386 SPM, Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia candidates were at school, looking lively and motivated to start preparations for their examinations.

In Selangor, to ensure that teachers and 72,474 SPM candidates in the state complied with the SOP, officers from the Education Department have been instructed to visit the schools regularly to monitor the situation.

In Kelantan, parents whose children were present at schools were hopeful the school administration would take necessary steps to ensure the spread of Covid-19 is curbed throughout the face-to-face learning sessions.

In Johor, Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad spent an hour observing the first day of school at SMK Aminuddin Baki.

He said he was confident the learning sessions for the 55,520 examination candidates in the state would run smoothly.

Despite the floods on Jan 3, the resumption of classes in Pahang was not affected as clean-up operations were immediately carried out with the help of parents and government agencies soon after floodwaters had receded.

Education Department officers were deployed to every school in Sabah to monitor the situation and to ensure everyone complied with the SOP.

In Penang, police school liaison officers had been stationed at all secondary schools throughout the MCO period.

Despite the bleak atmosphere in Malacca, happy faces were seen as students turned up on the first day of school.

In Negri Sembilan, the reopening of 125 secondary schools for 15,918 examination candidates in the state went without a hitch
as students dutifully complied with the new norm.

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