What happens if someone is infected in school, asks NGO

Classroom sessions have already resumed for those sitting for major public examinations such as SPM and STPM.

PETALING JAYA: An education watchdog has raised concern over the lack of information on steps to be taken if a Covid-19 case is reported after schools reopen on July 15, four months after they were closed under a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the deadly virus.

Parent Action Group for Education (PAGE) spokesman Tunku Munawirah Putra said SOPs for what should happen if an infection occurs should be made known for the benefit of parents.

Education Minister Radzi Jidin said yesterday that schools would reopen on July 15, with primary pupils from Year One to Four to resume classes on July 22.

Classroom sessions have already resumed for those sitting for major public examinations such as SPM and STPM.

Munawirah said Radzi should have explained the steps to take, such as contact tracing and whether the school in question would remain open the following day, rather than only stating that the decision to reopen schools was made after consultation with the health ministry.

She asked if the ministry only planned to handle the situation when it “crosses the bridge and if and when a positive case happens”.

Regarding the three different models for schools to use after pupils go back to school, PAGE chairman Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said Model 1 for single sessions suited remote, rural and some suburban schools.

The second option, the two-session model, would be more suited to overpopulated urban schools, she said.

She said Model 3, which is to have two sessions with students attending school in turns, was the best solution for all double session schools.

Meanwhile, National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) spokesman Harry Tan urged principals and headmasters to take into account the views of parents and teachers before choosing the model to employ.

Asked if the dual and rotation models would lead to fatigue and overworked teachers, he said the ministry had assured that this issue would be addressed once the full guidelines are released.

Tan also welcomed the hybrid teaching method, which involves online and face-to-face lessons on different days, saying it was the best way forward at this period of time.

He said a joint study by the NUTP and experts from Universiti Malaya found that 93% of 10,500 teachers surveyed wanted face-to-face sessions with their students.

With insight from 100 experts from various fields, he added, the study decided that a blended teaching method with online and physical lessons would be best suited for the new normal.

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