Hustle and bustle as school prepares for newbies

WITH Year One and Year Two pupils starting face-to-face classes on Monday, teachers and administration staff are busy making last-minute preparations for the new school term.

New floor markers are being pasted and classrooms are undergoing major cleaning at SJK(C) Sin Kang in Ayer Itam, Penang.

The school has received an enrolment of 82 new pupils for Year One while 58 Year Two pupils will also be resuming classes.

Headmistress Lian Poh Lai said 30 teachers are involved in the preparation.

“There are three classrooms for Year One newbies and two classrooms for Year Two pupils.

“Because the classrooms were last used in November, we need to replace the curtains, wipe the dusty surfaces and rearrange the tables in line with standard operating procedure (SOP), ” she said in a recent interview.

Lian said the school’s landscaping and surroundings were thoroughly cleaned while some tree branches were also trimmed.

Besides that, new closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras were also installed for better monitoring of physical movement in the school.

While teachers are familiar with the SOP practices from last year, Lian said their main concern this year would be the Year One pupils as they were unable to undergo an orientation programme.

“Normally, Year One pupils would spend several hours in school in the beginning just to get accustomed to the new environment.

“This year, there was no such practice and their parents were not allowed to enter the school with them.

“Parents only get to drive through along the school compound to pay for the fees, or to buy stationery items.

“Now, the pupils will head straight to their classrooms and the teachers will arrange to bring them in small groups to undergo briefings on the SOP, ” she said.

As for Year Two pupils, Lian estimated some 10% to 15% of them would need to catch up on their lessons due to the movement control order.

“Some of them have fallen behind due to technical difficulties such as poor internet connectivity or lack of specific devices to follow online lessons.”

Meanwhile, the school’s canteen operator Tan Lee Kheng, 50, said while the school canteen would remain closed, pupils could pre-order their meals for 10 consecutive days and they would be delivered to classrooms.

“We revamped the menu to serve only meals that are easy to consume in containers.

“There are over 20 types of food items to choose from.

“After their meal, the pupils will bring home the containers to wash and return them to us the next day, ” she said.

On Friday, Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin announced that those in preschool, Year One and Year Two would resume face-to-face classes on March 1, and Year Three to Year Six on March 8.

Secondary schools in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu will restart classes on April 4, while students in other states will return on April 5. Private schools under the ministry will also follow those starting dates.

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