Thursday, June 8

Parents want other measures in place besides school SOP


(From left) Honseng Andrias Nyawin, Jamrah Suntong and Elaine Eng.

KUCHING: Most concerned parents, although they agree with the standard operating procedure (SOP) for schools to reopen, feel that other precautionary measures must also be considered.

A civil service pensioner, Honseng Andrias Nyawin, 41, said the SOP must also include procedures for school buses that transport the children.

“How do you want to do the SOP for school buses? Can we do a one-metre social distancing in buses or vans? For example, a van can accommodate 20 students at a time; is it possible to send 10 students to school first, then you pick up another 10 students later? It will be time consuming, and by the time the second batch gets to school, it’s already past the first half an hour of the lessons,” he said.

With two school-going children – one in a special needs school and another in a normal education stream – Honseng said his concern is for his other son going to a mainstream school here, who uses a school van to school.

“The school SOP is fine, but maybe the ministry should look into the SOP of school buses/vans,” he suggested.

For another concerned parent, Jamrah Suntong, 44, who is a civil servant, she is not in a rush for schools to be reopened and in fact prefers schools to be reopened in phases.

“I fear that Covid-19 cases could spike once schools reopen, especially among the younger children.

“For me, I have an eight-year old child. Being the youngest of three siblings, you cannot guarantee if he could socially distance himself with his friends. Kids being kids, they will be running around and playing with their friends,” she said.

Meanwhile, Elaine Eng, 47, mother to four boys, said dividing classes to accommodate all the children in a school would be a burden to the school.

“If you have 40 students in a class, then you need to divide them into half, so one class will have 20, and the additional class will have another 20. If the school has many facilities, then it is good, but if a school has limited facilities, it will be a burden to the school unless you have staggered classes on alternate days,” she opined.

She said teachers too must be able to adapt to the new normal before allowing students to resume classes.

“It is best for schools to reopen in a staggered manner, like what the Education Ministry announced by allowing only Form 5 and 6 students to return first.

“It will be difficult for schools to manage students if the numbers are high,” she added.

It was reported on Wednesday that the new normal practices are among the Ministry of Education’s school reopening management guidelines to be distributed to schools beginning yesterday. It was also posted on the ministry’s website.