Preparations made in case more schools close



PARENTS are making contingency plans as more schools close after reporting Covid-19 cases.

Mother of two LH Teoh, 38, is one of those who is well prepared as she quit her job in the banking sector last year to focus on her children’s education during the pandemic.

This enabled her to cope when her daughter’s private school closed after a few classmates tested positive for Covid-19 last week.

“Quitting my job was a tough decision. I was left with not many options because I wanted to help my children cope with online learning, ” she said.

Teoh is happy with her Year One daughter’s school which conducts online classes successfully.

“I am satisfied with my daughter’s school even though I still have to guide her during online lessons, ” she said, adding that her son, who is in a government school, was learning at home too as her daughter had been in close contact with pupils who tested positive for the coronavirus.

“My son’s school did a much better job with online learning earlier this year and I am optimistic that this will continue if schools are closed again, ” said Teoh.

It was earlier reported that 19 schools in the Petaling District were closed due to the emergence of Covid-19 clusters.

Dr K. Suhana, who is a full-time university lecturer, is required to be on site five days a week.

She hoped her organisation would allow her to work off-site for at least twice a week, especially if the schools closed, so she could monitor her nine- and 10-year-old sons more effectively.

When schools were closed, she had to prepare breakfast and lunch for her sons in the morning before rushing to work. She taught them to use the laptop for their online lessons and gave them a smartphone for emergencies.

Suhana is fortunate to have a neighbour who checks on them at lunchtime to make sure they have eaten their meal and completed their schoolwork.

“If there is another lockdown, I will need to return to that routine, ” she said.

Single mother Racheal Maria, 42, has three schoolgoing children and fears another disruption in their studies if schools were closed.

“During the last lockdown, only one teacher conducted online lessons for my 14-year-old son.

“The rest just gave homework, without teaching. The same goes for my two other children who are in primary school.

“They did not have any lessons. I am worried about their studies, ” said Racheal.

Although Dr Hazfaneza Ab Halim said online learning was not as effective as physical lessons, especially for younger children, schools would have to close if Covid-19 cases continued to increase.

“Their grandmother would once again have to help my children with their online lessons, ” said the mother of three.

Federation of School Bus Associations of Malaysia president Amali Munif Rahmat said since the pandemic last year, about 40% of drivers had left the job.

He said any large-scale closure of schools would have a ripple effect.

“Most parents in the middle- income group are sending their children to school themselves.

“Another lockdown will ‘kill’ our industry.

“I hope the government understands the importance of our industry and classifies us as essential services so school bus drivers can be given incentives and other forms of aid, ” said Amali Munif.

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