by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by TMR FILE
MORE than half a million students across thousands of secondary and international schools nationwide will be returning to the classrooms as schools reopen in stages from June 24.
Senior Minister (Education) Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said the reopening later this month will cover students facing public examinations and equivalent international school exams this year.
The decision was made upon rigorous consultation with health officials and trial runs conducted on 20 schools since early April, Mohd Radzi said.
Official safety guidelines have been distributed to schools on June 4 to allow schools to prepare before they reopen for the first time since March 18.
“I am sure parents are concerned about the safety of their children as schools reopen. Do not fear.
“We are confident that our children will be able to go to school and learn in a safe environment, if the guidelines are properly followed by parents, teachers and students,” the minister said yesterday.
The guidelines, which have been vetted and approved by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the National Security Council, include classroom arrangements, movement at canteens and restrictions on assemblies and physical activities.
Mohd Radzi said body temperatures will be checked at the school gate before entry is allowed. This will be applicable to students, teachers and visitors to the school. Those with readings above 37.5°C will not be allowed in.
“If there is a need to get parents to pick their child up from the school, the student will be put under isolation while arrangements are being made.
“The district health clinic will also be alerted if the student is showing symptoms of Covid-19.”
Floor markers have been placed around the school compound to help with movement. Desks in classrooms are arranged 1m apart, which will accommodate an average of 20 students per classroom, Mohd Radzi said.
Recess will be done in stages and students will be required to eat their purchased packed food in their classrooms. Co-curricular activities and school assemblies will continue to be suspended until further notice.
For hostels of boarding schools, beds will be arranged with some distances according to dorm size. Tables at dining halls will be staggered to allow social distancing.
Malaysia has so far recorded 8,338 infections and 118 deaths.
The guidelines also provide a contextual directive on the use of face masks, which is advised by the World Health Organisation to prevent widespread transmission.
Mohd Radzi said students who show symptoms will be given a face mask to wear by teachers.
“However, there are no restrictions if parents want their children to have their own face masks. As I have said, the guidelines will be revised from time to time if there is a need to improve them.
“This will be made with the advice of the MoH,” he said.
The implementation of the standard guidelines will be monitored by district and state education offices.