Schools stick with established SOP for now

GEORGE TOWN: Primary schools prepping to start sessions for pupils in Years One and Two will rely on previously issued standard operating procedure.

This includes refraining from holding assemblies and any activities that will lead to pupils gathering in a large group.

All schools must also mark corridors and walkways to ensure smooth one-way flow and prevent teachers and pupils from accidentally crowding while on the move.

“We are on standby for any new SOP. But as it is, we will apply the previously provided one, ” said state Education director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad yesterday.

As per the SOP released last June, parents are encouraged to ensure pupils have breakfast at home and bring their own snacks and meals to school.

For those unable to do this, school canteens can operate but must only offer pre-packed meals.

A 1m distance must be put among all desks in classrooms and the

suggested number of pupils per class is 20.

Masks are mandatory at all times, except when having meals at recess, while space must be made to isolate anyone at school who develop symptoms.

All pupils and teachers arriving for school must undergo temperature and symptom screening.

Teachers, pupils, workers and canteen operators need to be trained in keeping the school clean every day, while soap for washing hands must always be available at the canteen, toilets and prayer room.

Meanwhile, in Melaka, parents are having a mixed reaction to the reopening of schools.

Dr A. Sheela Arumugam, 50, from Durian Tunggal, said it is still premature for lower primary pupils to attend classes as the Covid-19 curve has yet to be flattened.

“These are kids and it would be hard for teachers to ensure physical distancing in school.

“We can consider reopening when the situation improves and in the meantime classes can continue online, ” she said.

Social activist Rozlindah Rozlan, 41, from Ujong Pasir, welcomes the reopening of schools, especially for Years One and Two.

“I am sure the school management will adhere to strict health protocols when classes resume. Let the young ones return to schools and as parents we too can play our role to ensure stakeholders prioritise the students’ health and safety, ” she said.

Businesswoman Chong Weh Chen, 36, from Cheng, said her sons are excited to return to school.

“I want the normal classrooms to go on although as parents I am also concerned about the health and safety of my children and I will give special attention to this.

“Schooling experience can’t be replaced by online studies, ” she said.

Security officer P. Ramesh, 52, from Krubong, is eager to send his children back to school.

“Many parents felt the online classes must go on as they have purchased electronic gadgets for that purpose.

“But nothing can replace the ambience of studying in school, ” he said.

Separately, a 36-year-old primary school teacher, who requested anonymity, is happy to hear the government will consider vaccinating teachers under the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.

“Teachers will definitely come under the frontliner category once school reopens, ” she said.

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