Education during MCO in Malaysia
Many parents and teachers are continuing to educate students from home with the announcement that MCO has been extended to 12th May 2020.
Since then, topics of discussion have been about the Ministry of Education (MOE) announcing cancellations or postponing of public examinations, teachers challenged to engage students at home and exploring measures to transition students back to school.
However, with the Hari Raya and Hari Gawai celebrations coming up two weeks after the 12th, it’s possible that schools may not reopen until the festivities are over.
Learning routines of schools across the world
The debate regarding school safety and resuming school routines are heavily present in the UK and Australia as they reopened their doors this week. France is scheduled to resume class schedules on the 11th May but shares with its parents that this initiative is voluntary. Singapore however began preparing their students to transition learning from home at the start of April and is fully on a home-based learning regime until June school holidays are scheduled to start ahead of time next week.
Many are now looking to China and their approaches in education.
What was the epicentre of the outbreak, China is making remarkable efforts to return to the ‘new normal’ in schools and returns with a twist.
Circulating on social media, younger students are found to return to life at school with special headgears to keep to social distancing measures within the country.
How cute is that!
What is social distancing?
Social Distancing is a common term popularised by the media and is literally defined as physically distancing oneself to prevent or stop the spread of COVID-19. This pandemic is a once-in-a-century occurrence and as such there’s no consensus for what these standards are and how we can control them. However, we applaud the efforts of governments across the world that are taking this challenge in stride!
How is social distancing practiced differently in school vs at home? How do we ensure safe distancing between teachers and their classroom at all times when they return to school?
In Malaysia, even though parents are waiting for confirmation for action steps, we can start educating our students on some precautionary measures schools across the world are doing to keep their students and teachers healthy and safe.
1. Crowd control
To encourage collaborative and team-based learning, many schools see fit to cluster tables together in islands as seating arrangements in class. However according to a Cambridge report in 2018, classrooms can be overcrowded with an average of 50 students in some classes!
To help maintain a healthy distance, schools in Germany have converted seating arrangements and Denmark has staggered school entries at the start of the day. Malaysian schools are advised to consider these precautionary practices and additional measures involving crowds such as school assemblies, recess clusters at the school canteen and playground and physical education (PJK) classes. Taking temperatures throughout the day and slowly introducing students to resume school based on classes or age-groups would be something school administrators may want to explore as well.
2. Healthy habits & sharing facilities
Referencing our previous post on healthy habits during flu season, germs are everywhere!
As students and teachers return to school campuses, embracing the ‘new normal’ would include some lifestyle changes - in particular hygiene practices in and out of school. Japan’s lifestyle is a testament why social responsibility and order can help students adopt healthy habits at a young age.
Businesses and shop owners are also seen to arm their entrances with hand sanitisers and while continuing to operate during the pandemic as well. Washing hands can be a challenge given the distances from classroom and toilet facilities and it would also be unreasonable to expect all children to crowd at the nearest sink.
To alleviate the burden of rushing to the toilet, schools in Malaysia could provide hand sanitisers in classrooms and around school compounds to encourage healthy habits during school hours. Areas or items most commonly handled should also be sanitised regularly. Schools should also explore the approaches to take with shared classroom items such as textbooks, stationary and the transportation of students to schools especially if a student is expected to travel lengthy distances.
3. Reschedule school visits and class trips
It goes without saying that Malaysian schools should postpone any extracurricular excursions and the like when students head back to school.
USA currently is reported to have the highest number of reported cases and citizens are hoping schools will not reopen anytime soon even after summer break ends late June 2020.
Canada, its cautious neighbour, has already made efforts to cancel school excursions to suspend any unnecessary travel where possible.
Start early: Practice these suggestions with loved ones at home
We hope these information can help our readers to protect their well-being in school and to start making a habit of these while we wait to transition back into society at large.
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