Online orders for canteen food

No more gathering: Social distancing norms will see the end of students being able to eat with their friends in the school canteen. - File photo

WHEN schools reopen, students should not be allowed to congregate during recess in the canteen.

Instead, they should be allowed to order food using a mobile application (app).

The food can then be sent to them in class following strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the Education Ministry and Health Ministry, education experts opined.

Alternatively, students can bring food from home to be eaten at their desks.

With social distancing now the new norm, technology should be used to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the group which has come up with a guideline for how school canteens can operate in the near future, said.

The ‘Post Covid-19 Pandemic Schooling Guideline’ is the result of an in-depth study by the National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) involving experts from various specialties and disciplines, covering different aspects of the curriculum and even the needs of school counsellors post-Covid-19.The study’s research head Dr Mohd Nazri Abdul Rahman said the NUTP wants to ensure that the teaching pedagogy suggested in the study can be implemented in all segments of society, taking into account factors such as students who are left behind due to lack of internet access.

“It takes all students’ and teachers’ needs into account.”

“One of the biggest issues is attracting the attention of students who are losing focus during online lessons.”

The study’s main task force also involves school administrators, academicians, Education Ministry officers, Excellent Teachers Award recipients, headmasters, lecturers, NUTP members, parents and teachers nationwide.

NUTP president Aminuddin Awang said the guideline also prohibits students from sharing food or any personal wares and cutlery.

“It is recommended that the canteen staff prepare an online menu which students and parents can order from in advance, ” he said during a press conference to announce the study’s results last Sunday.

These same suggestions can also be applied for daycare and preschools, he added.

On May 11, Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said social distancing among students within the school compound and during lessons needed to be practised once schools reopened.

And, pre-packed food would be served in school canteens to prevent students from congregating, he said during a special Teachers Day interview on TV.

He also assured the public that the ministry would give two weeks’ notice before schools reopened, and that it would be limited to Form Five and Form Six students for a start.

Aminuddin said schools should begin preparing for the return of their students two weeks before reopening as this would coincide with the same time frame of notice.

“The two weeks provided by the Ministry before schools reopen is an appropriate time period for these preparations.

“Without a time limit, schools may arbitrarily call teachers to return to schools for the preparation processes, ” he said.

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