SAFE RETURN TO SCHOOL


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 20 Sep 2020

PARENTS were naturally concerned about their children’s wellbeing when education institutions reopened after three months of closure.

However, the return of students to school has been smoothly carried out under extensive standard operating procedure (SOP) drawn up by the Education Ministry together with the Health Ministry and the National Security Council.

What is important is that everyone plays his part to keep Covid-19 at bay so that children learn in a safe environment.

Mini and Moments Bukit Jalil City partner and lead teacher Jenny Lim shared the centre’s challenges during MCO and on adhering to SOP when classes reopen.

“Our students are as young as six months, for music class, and up to eight years old, for art class. So it was really difficult to get them to focus and pay attention when classes were conducted virtually during MCO.

“We had to tweak our lessons to incorporate different methods to deliver activities which were physical games and music activities before.

“We are grateful that the parents joined the online sessions. They helped by preparing household items for the activities, ” she said.

Now that her centre is open, Lim ensures that SOP is followed strictly.

“Before entering the centre, everyone has to have mask and socks on, temperature checked and hands and body sanitised.

“Furniture in the waiting lounge are arranged accordingly and toys are not available anymore.

At Mini and Moments Bukit Jalil City child enrichment centre, young students sit at designated spots, with up to six students per classroom.At Mini and Moments Bukit Jalil City child enrichment centre, young students sit at designated spots, with up to six students per classroom.

“For music class, dedicated spots are set up for each child to sit with their parent and we limit it to six students per class.

“Tables are set 1m apart with a maximum of five students in art class.

“Equipment is stored in a sanitised box and rooms are disinfected after each class, ” she said.

SMK Bandar Utama Damansara 4 principal Aini Wardiah Adenan said teachers took on extra responsibilities to not only ensure the safety of students but also to oversee cleanliness of the classrooms.

“We have 1,300 students. Before school reopened, the teachers labelled the floor and walls with arrow signs to guide students where to enter and exit the school.

“Teachers have to be in school early to take every students’ temperature and are extra vigilant that students observe physical distancing, ” she said.

Tables and chairs are cleaned every morning and afternoon while hand sanitisers are placed in every classroom.

Students who are not well will be placed in an isolation room before their parents come to pick them up.

As the canteen has become a restricted area, a system was set up whereby students order their food and drinks a day before, which will be served to them in their classrooms.

“During recess, teachers are stationed in classrooms to monitor students as they have their meals, ” she said.

At the Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar (KTJ) boarding school in Mantin, Negri Sembilan, students and staff live on-site.

“The best thing about KTJ is our huge 32ha-site. With just over 1,000 students, we probably have one of the largest student-land ratio in Malaysia for a school.

“In addition, we have an average of 20 students in a classroom which is relatively spacious. This has made it a lot easier for our students to practise physical distancing and safely participate in extracurricular activities, ” said KTJ principal Dr Glenn Moodie.

Moodie emphasised that KTJ also adheres to global best practices set by international school organisations like the Boarding Schools Association (BSA) and Council of International Schools (CIS) which prescribe additional precautions for the health and safety of students and staff.

He said there is a medical centre on-site with a full-time doctor and a team of nurses trained in paediatric care and emergency response. The medical centre is able to dispense and administer most medications, and has a separate sick bay for quarantine purposes if necessary.

“This gives parents confidence to send their children back to school. More than 80% of our current international students have already returned or are currently under

quarantine at local hotels, ” he adds.



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