The Jakarta Post
As the central government plans to reopen schools for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, the National Child Protection Commission (KPAI) is urging it to focus on preparing infrastructure and protocols for students returning to classes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The KPAI believes the government is unprepared and has evaded its responsibility by making regional administrations responsible for taking care of the necessary preparations.
“By handing over the responsibility to the regional administrations without mapping which areas and schools are prepared and which are not, I think they are neglecting their responsibilities,” KPAI commissioner on education Retno Listyati said as quoted by antaranews.com on Friday.
The KPAI suggested the central government should establish a proper information, communication, coordination and complaint system so that both central and regional administrations can work together in preparing for the schools reopening, as opposed to letting the regional administrations take over all of the duties.
“What are they going to do if the regional budget isn’t enough to cover [the needs]? Are we just going to let schools become new clusters?” she said.
The central government issued a joint ministerial decree (SKB) on Friday that allowed regional administrations in all zones to reopen schools. The regional administrations were given the authority to reopen schools as the central government believes they understand the situations in their respective regions best.
Furthermore, the local administrations will also have to fund the infrastructure preparation and swab test kits from their own budgets.
Education and Culture Nadiem Makarim said that the decree stipulated, among other things, that schools had to meet several requirements before reopening, such as the availability of proper sanitation facilities, handwashing booths with running water and soap, or hand sanitizer and disinfectant.
“The schools should also be able to access healthcare facilities, be ready to implement mask-wearing policies and possess a thermogun,” Nadiem said as quoted by tempo.co on Friday.
He added that schools should obtain approval from students’ parents, guardians and school committees prior to the reopening.
This decision was met with a positive response from the House of Representatives.
House Commission X chairman Syaiful Huda, whose commission oversees education, expressed his support for the new policy. However, Syaiful also reminded that the school reopening should be accompanied by strict health protocol implementation.
“The school hours should be flexible as well. For example, students should only come to school twice or three times a week with only three- to four-hour study sessions every week,” Huda said. (dpk)
Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.