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Jakarta Post

Ministry suggests shorter school hours as part of 'new normal'

  • Ivany Atina Arbi
    Ivany Atina Arbi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, May 29, 2020   /   01:11 pm
Ministry suggests shorter school hours as part of 'new normal' A student reads information on COVID-19 and its prevention on a TV screen in her home in Palu, Central Sulawesi, on March 28. (Antara/Mohamad Hamzah)

The Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry has suggested reducing school hours to only four hours a day without breaks as concerns mount over “new normal” protocols for students.

"Our recommendation is to remove break time and shorten the school hours to four hours a day,” the ministry's deputy assistant for child protection in emergency situations and pornography, Ciput Eka Purwianti, said on Thursday.

Another scenario prepared for the new normal at schools was to alter the start and end of school hours to avoid a buildup of students at campus entrances. 

The government is planning to ease the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) policy — aimed at curbing COVID-19 transmission in public areas — gradually and embrace a new normal by slowly reopening schools, offices and shopping centers as well as other public places with heightened health protocols.

However, many have questioned the decision as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths still continue to rise across the country.

The National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas PA) suggested that students study from home until the country is declared free from COVID-19. 

"The study-from-home policy should remain in effect until Indonesia is free from the novel coronavirus pandemic," chairman Arist Merdeka Sirait said in a statement on Wednesday.

He said he would soon send a letter to the Education and Culture Ministry regarding the matter. 

Read also: Five percent of Indonesia's COVID-19 cases are children: Ministry

According to Indonesian Pediatric Association data, at least 584 children in Indonesia have tested positive for COVID-19 as of May 18, 14 of whom died of the disease. 

Up to 3,324 children have been placed under surveillance (PDP), 129 of whom have.

Social media influencer Hana Handoko created an online petition through last week, demanding a continuation of the study-from-home policy to protect children from the life-threatening disease.

She cited cases of COVID-19 transmissions in France and Finland after the respective governments decided to reopen schools, despite the ongoing pandemic. 

"Hopefully, the government will learn from what happened in France and Finland and extend distance study sessions to protect our next generation," Hana said.

 The petition has garnered nearly 45,000 signatures as of Friday morning.