BUTTERWORTH: Roads outside schools were abuzz as Year Three to Six pupils returned to classrooms, with many parents choosing to personally drop off their children.
At SJK(C) Li Hwa here, a stream of vehicles was seen queuing up outside during the morning session.
The queue eventually stretched for about a kilometre as pupils bid goodbye to their parents and lugged their bags into classrooms after they were dropped off within the school compound.
Teachers and security guards took on additional roles to make sure traffic was in order, while a few other teachers were armed with hand sanitisers and temperature scanners to ensure pupils had their temperature checked and hands sanitised.
To beat the congestion, businessman Ng Chin Keong, 34, brought his Year Four son by motorcycle before heading to work.
“Normally, I would drive him but seeing the jam, I thought that it would be faster to use the motorcycle, ” he said.
“After spending a long time at home, my son said he was nervous about returning to school but I convinced him that it will be all right.”
Factory worker G. Govindarajan, 58, said his 12-year-old son G. Sanjay Sairam’s return to school was a relief for the family.
“Going back to school not only brings a whole different experience for him, where he can interact with his friends and teachers, but also help instil discipline in him.
“Gone are the days where he attends online classes at home while watching television with his mother nagging him, ” he said when met at the school gate.
Engineer Tan Yee Hern, 38, said it was an “awkward” situation for him to see his nine-year-old daughter Tan Lexie returning to school while he was still working from home.
“But this is the new norm that we have to adapt to, ” he said.
Among those greeting pupils upon their arrival was headmistress Wan Lay See, who said a total of 1,596 pupils from Years One to Six were enrolled in the school.
North Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Noorzainy Mohd Noor, who monitored the situation, said it was all good for 64 primary schools within the district.
“Policemen were sent to every school to monitor the compliance of the SOP.
“Traffic police were deployed at schools where congestion would occur along main roads, as most parents came in their own vehicles to drop their children, ” he said.
“Police will also monitor the situation when school ends, ” he added.
A check after school saw parents waiting in queue for their children to be released.
At SJK(C) Union on Penang island, barricades and umbrellas were set up outside the school and parents took shade from the scorching sun to pick up their loved ones at the gate.
Among them was housewife Jenny Lee, 43, who said she decided to drive despite the jam to ensure the safety of her nine-year-old daughter.
“Children are hard to discipline and I’m reluctant to allow her to take the school bus as she did in the past.
“At least, I can ensure she is in safe hands upon exiting the school and returns home directly without further contact with others, ” she said.
Those in preschool, Year One and Year Two resumed face-to-face classes on March 1, while Years Three to Year Six pupils returned yesterday.
Secondary schools in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu will restart on April 4, while students in other states will return on April 5.
Private schools under the ministry will also follow those starting dates.