PETALING JAYA: Stakeholders want strategies and strict standard operating procedures in place before the government reopens schools this September.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said it was vital that the SOP be stringent and continually adhered to.
“We must not let our guard down at any point in time,” she said.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said the Education Ministry must have an action plan ready in case not all teachers were immunised by September.
Although the escalating number of daily cases was scary, he said the prolonged school closure had left a negative impact on students.
Anita, who teaches Form Five students in Petaling Jaya, said tighter protocols must be prepared as the number of cases was still very high and did not look like it would drop to below 1,000 by September.
Although she is vaccinated, Anita is concerned she could infect her students with Covid-19.
Suresh, a teacher from Subang Jaya, said exam year students should be brought back first, a strategy that was used the last time schools reopened for face-to-face lessons last year.
“The Education Ministry’s plan to start with a small group has worked before and schools need to reopen at some point.
“Hopefully, cases would have dropped by September,” he added.
He also said that safety should remain a priority to avoid any rise in cases upon the reopening of schools in September.
“The vaccine is not a passport to reopen everything and although teachers and students do want to be back in school to learn, there is an air of uncertainty,” Suresh said.
Educationist and former National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam said home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) had been going on for too long and that it was time for students and teachers to assimilate back into “normal” life.
“Many parents and students have expressed their frustration over PdPR, in addition to parents having to juggle work from home.
“However, the ministry and schools must be prepared with their guidelines and emergency plans in case Covid-19 positive cases are detected in schools after it reopens.
“Everybody has a major responsibility to play to ensure teaching and learning can go back to face-to-face,” he said.
NUTP secretary-general Harry Tan welcomed the opening of schools, adding that he believed the ministry was doing this based on facts and statistics.
“This is what many parents and teachers have been clamouring for if the vaccination programme is a success,” he added.
Yesterday, the Education Ministry announced that schools would reopen in stages from Sept 1 for face-to-face classes.
It said the decision was made after taking into account the country’s current vaccination rates.
The ministry added that as at July 16, a total of 253,366 teachers and administrators (61.30%) as well as 10,876 support staff (46.33%) had received at least their first dose of vaccine.
Until then, home-based teaching and learning would continue until Aug 31, it said.
The ministry also said that this applied to all government schools, government aided schools, private schools and educational institutions registered with them.
However, this ruling is subject to change depending on the latest risk assessment by the Health Ministry and National Security Council.
The ministry also said that exam year students in states under the second phase of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) would be the first back to school, while all students in areas under the third phase of the NRP would return to their classes on Sept 1.
“Further details will be announced at least one week before schools open,” it added.