Temperature checks, eating in class during recess to be the new normal when schools reopen, says Education Minister

KAJANG (Bernama): Temperature screening before entering the school compound and eating in the classroom during recess are among the new normal practices students need to adopt when schools reopen.

Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said the guidelines stipulated that teachers will carry out body temperature checks when students enter school compounds and if they showed any symptoms, further action would be taken.

"We are also aware that some students walk or cycle to school and the temperature could be slightly above 37.5°C... so these students will be asked to rest first to ensure their body temperature returns to normal before it is checked again.

"Each school will have an isolation room. If the student shows any symptoms they will be brought there and the school, besides contacting the parents, will also contact the nearest health centre for further action, ” he said.

Mohd Radzi, who is also a senior minister, told Bernama this after a visit to see the preparations for school reopening at SMK Engku Husain in Semenyih on Wednesday (June 3).

Also present were Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, National Security Council (MKN) director-general Mohd Rabin Basir and Education director-general Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim.

The new normal practices are among the Education Ministry’s school reopening management guidelines to be distributed to schools beginning Thursday (June 4).

The guidelines were also posted on the ministry's website.

The 34-page detailed guidelines were developed in collaboration with the Health Ministry and the National Security Council (MKN).

Meanwhile, Mohd Radzi said parents did not have to worry about social distancing during recess as the children would only be allowed into the canteen area in stages and they would eat their meals in the classrooms.

"Students need to buy packed food and will be queuing with a 1m gap between each other before returning to their classrooms to eat.

"Hence, the situation in the canteen will be in orderly and parents don't have to worry about children jostling to buy food as recess will be carried out in stages to ensure that not all students gathered at the canteen at any one time, ” he said.

In order to maintain social distancing between students, the tables in the classroom must have a 1m gap and extra students would be placed in the other class, he said.

He added that school labs also shared a similar setting to ensure learning could be carried out in an orderly and safe manner.

Commenting on the movement of students in the school area, he said the direction of the students would be marked with arrows to avoid crowding.

He said the guidelines also emphasised the teachers’ well-being, safety and health.

He said teachers did not have to worry about being placed in a cramped teachers’ room as the school must ensure that there was social distancing even in the teachers' room and there were teachers who would be placed in other suitable rooms, including resource centres.

The ministry has issued similar guidelines for students in dormitories where their beds would be spaced 1m apart and the dining hall would emphasise social distancing among students, he said.

Once schools reopen, the ministry would see how the guidelines were being implemented and if there was room for improvement to ensure that students attending the school are in a safe environment.

"We sincerely hope students will practice social distancing while they are at school and throughout their journey to and from school, ” Mohd Radzi said. - Bernama

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