School year starts with caution


Staying safe: Students and teacher wearing protective face masks and shields after the government reopened schools by implementing face-to-face learning process in Pariaman, West Sumatra Province. — Reuters

After months of studying from home, students in several parts of the archipelago returned to school in accordance with the so-called “new normal” protocols in their respective communities.

In the meantime, a number of other regions continued to exercise caution and carried on with their online learning policies as the Covid-19 health crisis has shown no sign of abating anytime soon.

In East Nusa Tenggara, students returned to their classrooms as junior and senior high schools in 13 regencies and cities across the province were permitted to resume their normal educational activities this week, albeit with a renewed emphasis on physical distancing and personal hygiene.

Despite the high-spirited school reopenings across the province, some parents have conveyed their collective anxiety about their children’s well-being.

Habel Manafe, whose child attends SMA 3 state senior high school in Kupang, called on schools to implement strict health protocols to ensure the safety of students, teachers and other staff members.

“For us, it goes without saying that once schools reopen, they must (enforce) health protocols.

“This includes implementing physical distancing measures, for instance, by putting some distance between seats in the classroom, ” Habel told the press on Monday, adding that students must also be required to wear face masks.

Habel went on to say that students should also be given practical lessons on health protocols so they can develop new habits to minimise the risks of infection.

“Parents shouldn’t simply tell (their children) to wash their hands, but they should also demonstrate how to do it properly, ” Habel added.

Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim allowed 104 regencies and cities considered to be “green zones” to reopen junior and senior high schools on Monday, which also marked the start of the new school year.

However, elementary school students are still required to study from home until further notice. — The Jakarta Post/ANN

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