Schools at the ready, teachers raring to go back


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 28 May 2020

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PETALING JAYA: Almost all schools are ready to reopen after closing for over two months under the movement control order (MCO).

Most schools have already started cleaning and preparing according to guidelines provided by the Education Ministry.

“The guidelines address matters like the number of students in each class, screening of students when they enter the school compound, social distancing in classrooms, dining halls and hostels, as well as the dos and don’ts.

“No date on the reopening of schools has been announced, so please ignore rumours and fake news on social media, ” a ministry official told The Star, adding that the date for reopening would be decided together with the Health Ministry and the National Security Council.

Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin previously said the ministry would give a 14-day-notice for schools before reopening, with face-to-face classes limited to Form Five and Form Six initially.

Going by the minister’s statement, it is unlikely that schools will reopen when the conditional MCO ends on June 9 as it means the ministry would have made the announcement yesterday.

The National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) said teachers were on standby and waiting for the official word.

Its secretary-general Harry Tan said a two-week notice should not pose any problem.

“Security, cleaning and landscaping service providers have all taken the necessary steps to ensure the environment is safe, ” he said.

Agreeing with Tan is a Form Six teacher from a school in Melaka, who said teachers were eager to go back to their classrooms.

The teacher, known as Lim, said online teaching was not as effective as face-to-face sessions.

“There are factors like body language and attendance that are hard to control online.”

Another Form Six teacher, who only wants to be known as Koo, said his school started planning a flexible timetable for students in the Arts stream as it has more students than those in the Science stream.

The challenge lies in limiting the class size to only 20 students.

In larger classes, lessons will have to be broken into two sessions to ensure proper distancing.

Former NUTP secretary-general Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam said while teachers were efficient in preparations to face a new schooling system, they must be prepared for surprises.

The process (of reopening) must not be hurried, he said.

“I think it’s ideal to reopen in August, to prepare for the following year.”

He said Health Ministry officials should start briefing teachers now to ensure they were well prepared once schools reopen and to take their views into account.

Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said several schools have started stocking up thermometers and hand sanitisers.

Educationist Prof Tan Sri Dr T. Marimuthu said authorities must look at the trend in the number of active Covid-19 cases and expressed concern on whether students would adhere to social distancing in classrooms, and whether teachers could teach effectively (in such a climate).

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Covid-19 , Coronavirus , MCO

   

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