Social distancing will be part of students’ culture when schools reopen

Source New Strait Times April 15, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Social distancing will be part of the students’ culture when schools reopen in the event that the Movement Control Order (MCO) is lifted.

Senior Minister (Education) Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said this practice would still have to be imposed even when the country has recovered from the pandemic.

He said the practice of the 1-meter social distancing gap from one student to another and fever screening or temperature detection with Infrared Thermometer has been stipulated in a guideline for schools nationwide and it must be adhered to.

“When schools are reopened, they must refer to the post-MCO Management Schools Guidelines that have been prepared by the ministry. All safety and hygiene aspects as well as efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 infection must be prioritised.

“This is to ensure schooling sessions will proceed smoothly and the teaching and learning process will be conducted safely,” Radzi said in a live telecast today.

He said the reopening of schools will be subjected to the latest developments, and upon advice of the Health Ministry and National Security Council (NSC) and after considering the safety and health of students.  Radzi said it was important for school sessions to be deferred until the country was truly confident that it has recovered from the pandemic.

He said this point was particularly stressed by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during a special address on April 10.

The government, said Radzi, understood the enthusiasm of more than 5 million students who were eager to return to school and resume their studies, and their eagerness to meet their teachers and schoolmates again.

However, he said the concerns of parents towards the safety and health of their children must be taken into account.

He said the ministry has held in-depth discussions with the Heath Ministry and NSC as well as state education executive councillors and department directors, headmasters, teachers, state religious departments as well as education non-governmental organisations.

Radzi assured that the ministry would not make any sudden announcement on the resumption of schools and parents will be given sufficient time to prepare their children.

“Parents do not have to worry about this. We will an announce at least two weeks before the reopening of schools. We are always in discussions with the Health Ministry on setting a date to reopen schools.

“The decision will be made only when we are truly confident that the nation has recovered (from Covid-19 pandemic),” he said.

At this point, Radzi said schools will only be reopened to facilitate the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) and international equivalent examinations.

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