Education Minister: Tighter SOP for schools ahead of Oct 3 reopening

PUTRAJAYA: Tightened and updated standard operating procedures (SOPs) have been announced for schools to adhere to.

Ahead of the reopening on Oct 3 in stages, Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said while it is easy for the Ministry to continue to keep schools closed, decisions cannot be made based on sentiments.

“There are almost five million students in the country who come from various socioeconomic backgrounds. What’s important is to bring these students back to school because they have been away for too long,” he said during the announcement of the new SOPs on Sunday (Sept 12).

Below are the tightened SOPs:

> Attendance in schools will be capped at 50% of each class's capacity at any given time. Every class will be halved to allow students to return on a weekly rotational basis. He however added that certain students who will not be rotated. These are students in Form Six Semester 2, boarding school students, special needs students, international exam year students, preschool/private kindergarten and schools with low enrolment.

> While students are in schools, teachers will prepare them for their home-based teaching and learning lessons (PdPR) for the following week; making it a flipped-classroom concept.

> Schools in Phase One states under the National Recovery Plan will not reopen until they move to Phase Two. All learning will be done via PdPR.

> The reopening of schools in Phase Two will involve Form Six second semester students. The rest will undergo PdPR.

> The reopening of schools in Phase Three will start with Forms Five and Six, as well as other exam year students in private and national schools. Preschool and private kindergarten pupils will attend too, without rotation.

> The reopening of schools in Phase Four will start with Form Six semester two students and other exam year students, including those in private schools and those taking international exams, in the first two weeks.

- Exam year students and Forms Three and Four in full boarding schools will return fully starting Oct 17.

- Exam year students and Forms Three and Four in national schools, will return on a rotational basis starting Oct 17.

- Primary pupils will return in stages on rotation every two weeks starting Oct 17.

- From Oct 31, Forms One and Two will return to schools.

- Preschool and private kindergarten pupils will attend without rotation.

- Years Four, Five and Six will continue PdPR.

- Years One, Two, Three from Oct 17 onwards will attend on a rotational basis.

> The new academic year will begin in March 2022. Students and pupils will remain in their current Years and Forms until then.

> Unvaccinated teachers will not be allowed to teach face-to-face in schools.

> Classes and all rooms must be well ventilated; curtains that prevent ventilation should be removed.

> Face masks are mandatory within school grounds. Double masks are encouraged. The Ministry is working towards providing face masks for B40 students and pupils.

> Students and pupils must eat in their classes during recess, unless it is air conditioned. Students in air-conditioned classrooms are encouraged to eat in an open area with their teachers’ supervision.

> Co-curriculum activities are still not allowed. Physical Education (PJK) lessons will be allowed but students must wear their sports outfit from home to avoid overcrowding in schools.

> Students with symptoms are not allowed to enter school. If they, however, develop symptoms in school, they will be tested for Covid-19. Test kits will be given to schools.

> Boarding schools will be made a “safe bubble”. Before students return, they will need to do a saliva test three times. Once before they enter school, once more on the sixth day and finally on the 14th day.

> It is not compulsory for students and pupils to wear a uniform to school, as long as they wear neat and appropriate clothes.

> Parents and guardians can choose whether they want to send their children to school. Disciplinary action will not be taken. They must, however, write a letter of explanation to the school if they choose not to send their children. Schools have been advised not to give students and pupils letters of warning.

> If there are Covid-19 cases in schools, schools must inform the district health office (PKD) and report it in the Covid-19 data app. The PKD will decide on further action as part of their risk assessment.

> Institutes of Teacher Education (IPG) students in Phase One and Two will continue PdPR.

> Schools in states or areas that have been classified as travel bubbles, will follow operations according to Phase Four

> When a state moves to the next phase, the educational institutions will operate according to the new phase two weeks after the announcement.


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