Parents step up as schools reopen


PETALING JAYA: Primary schools nationwide have reopened fully and parents are rallying as volunteers to ensure it runs smoothly.

This is the first time primary schools have reopened in full since their gradual closure last September, along with secondary schools, due to the spike in Covid-19 cases.

A total of 1.8 million pupils from Years Three to Six returned yesterday.

Checks by The Star at several schools revealed that some schools had parents come in as volunteers to manage the situation in the morning, and others had the assistance of police officers and Rela members to help them control the after-school situation.

This is a means of ensuring pupils are not crowding while entering schools and waiting for their parents after school. Pupils were seen leaving schools in stages too, starting from the Year One pupils.

The SJK (C) Kota Emerald, Rawang, parent-teacher association formed volunteer groups consisting of more than 30 parents to oversee and ensure the management of pupil movement conducted in a controlled manner.

Keeping an eye on things: A policeman standing guard as parents drop their children off at a school. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The StarKeeping an eye on things: A policeman standing guard as parents drop their children off at a school. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

The volunteer group was created just before schools reopened last June as a means of ensuring the school was a safe environment for their children to study in.

Its vice-chairman Ian Chooi, 43, said five to seven parents were in charge of checking pupils’ temperatures and handing out hand sanitiser as well as face masks for those who forgot to bring theirs, while another group of five parents monitored traffic flow.

“Our aim is to help our teachers because they are inundated with work as they juggle between preparing for lessons and having to monitor whether the pupils are following the SOP, ” he said.

Chooi, a factory manager in a multinational company, has three children in Years One, Four and Six studying in the school.

Education Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin visited SK King George V and SJK(T) Jalan Lobak, both in Negri Sembilan, to observe the first day of school for Years Three to Six pupils.

An aspect that was given particular emphasis, he said in a Facebook post yesterday, was both schools’ compliance with the SOP, particularly when pupils entered the school grounds and their movement to their classrooms.

“We hope that good cooperation and communication between schools and parents will be continued so that children can attend their school sessions in an orderly and safe manner, ” he said.

Easy does it: Mothers helping their schoolchildren get off a boat at a jetty in Labuan.  — BernamaEasy does it: Mothers helping their schoolchildren get off a boat at a jetty in Labuan. — Bernama

Meanwhile, Education director-general Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim, who followed Radzi on his trip to the schools, said the pupils looked cheerful and eager to attend school.

“The schools are as prepared as possible to accept pupils of all levels and are fully operational in compliance with the SOP.

“The pupils’ movement into the school area was also good, orderly and controlled, ” she said in a Facebook post yesterday.

She said they also followed through with the teaching and learning process in some classes and found that the schools had arranged the seats in the classroom in accordance with physical distancing.

However, she said while she was satisfied with the schools’ efforts, there was still room for improvement.

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