JOHOR BARU: Parents here have expressed mixed feelings about sending their children back to school, which is expected to reopen in stages starting from September.
Wolni Jungin, 37, said that while she looked forward to seeing her three children and three nephews, who are currently living with her, back at school, she is also worried about the Covid-19 situation.
“The learning environment in school and at home is completely different. I feel my children and nephews would do better in school.
“At the same time, I am also worried about them getting Covid-19 from school as it is not easy to control and ensure standard operating procedures are observed,” she said.
She is also undecided whether she will send her children and nephews, aged between six and 15, back to school.
“It will depend on the Covid-19 cases when September comes. I also hope schools are able to implement strict SOP,” she said.
Amzun Mat Yaman, 45, also has the same concerns.
The father of two said he would only allow his seven-year-old daughter to go back to school if Covid-19 cases in Johor dropped to double digits.
At the same time he noted that online classes had not been easy for his daughter.
“I lost my job in Singapore last year and as I have no income, it is difficult for me to afford to reload the credit on my phone for my daughter to get Internet access for her online studies.
“She has missed many classes because of this and I am worried that she might get left behind.
“I really want her to go back to school if it reopens but I am worried that she might get infected with Covid-19,” said Amzun, who also has a one-and-a-half month old baby.
Hussin Karam Din, from the Johor Muafakat Bus Operators and Drivers’ Association, said most school bus operators were taking a wait-and-see approach on whether they would operate once schools reopen.
Hussin, who oversees the association’s school bus drivers and operators, noted that some of them could not afford to restart their operation after having no income for months.
“They will have to fork out a lot of money to service their vehicles if they decide to resume,” he said, adding that there were about 2,400 bus operators and drivers in Johor.
He said it would cost a least RM900 to service a school van and about RM1,200 to service a school bus.
It was earlier reported that schools will reopen in stages for face-to-face classes from September.
The Education Ministry said home-based teaching and learning would continue until Aug 31, adding that this would apply to all government schools, government aided schools, private schools and educational institutions registered with it.
However, this ruling is subject to change depending on the latest risk assessments by the Health Ministry and National Security Council.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Heads of Schools has urged the Education Ministry to reopen schools based on the Covid-19 situation in each state rather than a blanket reopening of all schools throughout the nation, China Press reported.
Its president Lim Bee Khim pointed out that even though Selangor and Kuala Lumpur had stepped up their vaccination efforts, the ministry should also consider the fact that children were unvaccinated and remained a high risk group.
“I understand the importance of reopening schools, but we must not forget that lives are at risk here,” she said.