Parents busy with getting kids ready for school again


Back to school: Ooi with her son and daughter preparing their books to return to school at their home in George Town, Penang.

JOHOR BARU: It is a busy weekend for parents as they make final preparations for the reopening of schools, starting tomorrow, which has been delayed because of the pandemic.

Mother of two Nurul Aisha Mohd Yusoff, 34, a student management assistant at a school for special needs children here, said it was a hectic week for her as she juggled work and preparation for her daughter’s schooling needs.

“I am rushing to make sure that my daughter has everything she needs for school such as face shields and masks, and hand sanitiser.

“The school shoes I bought her last year do not fit anymore. Luckily, we still have spare white school shoes at home, ” she said.

Aisha said it took her a few days to decide on whether to allow her eight-year-old to return to school.

“My daughter is asthmatic. After thinking it over, I decided to let her go back to school as I do not want her to be left behind in her studies.”

Aisha added that her husband and her would, however, send their daughter to school themselves instead of relying on the school van.

Housewife Adeline Tan, 32, also said it was not an easy decision for parents who were concerned about their children’s safety yet did not want their children to miss out on their education.

Getting ready: It has been a hectic week for Nurul Aisha and Thiagarajan as they get ready for the start of school.Getting ready: It has been a hectic week for Nurul Aisha and Thiagarajan as they get ready for the start of school.

“Normally, I will make the necessary preparations at least two weeks before school starts but this time, it took me some time before I did it, ” she said.

In GEORGE TOWN, businesswoman Ooi Su Ching, 40, said that when it was announced that primary school children could return to school, she had her daughter Lim Pei Xin, 11, tried on her uniform.

“It was tight so I altered it. I hope it could last another six months.

“I don’t want to buy new uniforms only to find my children outgrowing them, ” said Ooi, whose son Min Yi was also returning to school.

Ooi was relieved that the children were finally returning for face-to-face lessons.

“We tried online studies but they were just not the same.

“My son is also excited about seeing his friends again, ” she added.

Housewife Siti Kamilah Zakariah, 32, said she got new school shoes and pants for her eight-year-old son Mohammad Iman Faizal Abdullah.

“The shoes I got him last year, which were hardly used, don’t fit now. Luckily, for his sister, who is in Year One, hers still fit.

Siti Kamilah said she was happy that school was reopening.

“I have three children aged six, seven and eight. Their online classes are difficult to handle as I have to monitor all three of them.

Goh Eng Ann, who runs a school supplies shop, said his shop was swarmed by parents within half an hour of the announcement that schools would reopen.

“Many did not buy their school essentials earlier as they were unsure if schools would reopen.

“Many parents are opting for the black shoes as well, ” he said.

Meanwhile, Johor Muafakat Bus Operators and Drivers’ Association chairman R. Thiagarajan said that to date, only about 10% of parents had reached out to them for their children’s transportation to school.

“Most parents want to send their children to school themselves. Some are concerned about the pandemic while others are worried that schools may shut again after they have made a full payment, ” he said.

Thiagarajan said the situation had forced a majority of them to not resume operating or only operate one of their vehicles.

“It’s not cost-effective for us to service only a handful of kids, ” he said, adding that it cost between RM800 and RM3,000 to prepare for the operation of a bus or van.

Schools nationwide will welcome back students from tomorrow, beginning with pre-schoolers as well as Years One and Two pupils.

Years Three to Six pupils will return on March 8.

Secondary schools will reopen in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu on April 4 and in other states, on April 5.

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