Easing their way back to school

PETALING JAYA: Some parents and pupils are just happy to be back in school even as daily Covid-19 cases continue to be in the thousands.

Schools began reopening in stages yesterday starting with 1.1 million preschoolers, Year One and Year Two pupils returning for face-to-face lessons.

It was the first time preschoolers and Year One pupils had stepped into their schools since they

reopened on Jan 20 but some had already got used to being “in school”, making the transition from home to classroom easier.

Shanti Panchadcharam said her Year One daughter was already comfortable with her teachers and had made friends through her online lessons.

She said she was not worried as her daughter’s teachers at the primary school in the Klang Valley were constantly reminding the pupils to take precautions.

Shanti also said parents were not allowed into the school compound, and all pupils and teachers had to have their masks on and wash their hands before entering.

Azwan Zar Abd Rashid was surprised to see how well behaved the pupils were when he dropped off his seven-year-old son.

As parents weren’t allowed to enter, he said his son’s teacher sent a photo of the classroom to the parents’ WhatsApp group chat and Azwan noted that the children appeared calm.

“No one looked like they were crying or had thrown a tantrum.

“I feel proud of how well behaved these pupils are; they are more independent and responsible.

“Of course we worry about whether an outbreak will happen in school, but my son’s teachers are dedicated to ensuring that the pupils strictly adhere to the standard operating procedure, ” he said, adding that a good school environment was important in a child’s early education.

Housewife Azza Azrin Juri said while she was concerned about the spread of the virus, she and her Year One son Arrizqy Izzran both preferred face-to-face lessons.

The online lessons, she said, were often noisy and the timetable was a problem as some of her son’s teachers would have lessons at irregular times and over the weekends.

“My son was all smiles as he put on his uniform. Once he was in school, he was so excited that he didn’t even turn around to look!” said the mother of three.

Students from Year Three to Year Six will return for face-to-face classes on March 8.

Secondary school students in Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu will start on April 4 while students in other states will return on April 5, Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin previously announced.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Radzi said the first day of school this time around was different from previous years, where parents of Year One pupils would send their children all the way to their classrooms.

This year, parents were only allowed up to the school entrance.

“We visited SK Putrajaya Presint 5 (1) and SK Putrajaya Presint 18 (1) and I was impressed by how the parents followed the SOP, ” he said.

Education director-general Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim said in a Facebook post on Sunday that she had observed the final preparations by three schools in Kedah: SK Mergong, SK Taman Uda dan SKPK Alor Setar.

“Congratulations, teachers. Your seriousness proves that we all want school sessions to be conducted in a safe and controlled environment, ” she said.

However, social media users expressed their worries about the ministry’s decision to reopen schools at a time when Covid-19 cases continue to surge nationwide.

A petition has been launched to close schools as daily Covid-19 numbers continue to record cases in the four figures.

As of press time, the petition had garnered 11,637 signatures.