The Jakarta Post
Reopening schools will lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases, the Indonesian Pediatric Society (IDAI) has stated.
In a release received by The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, IDAI chairman Aman B. Pulungan pointed out that even developed countries had reported a rise in infections after allowing on-campus learning to resume, such as South Korea, France and the United States.
“Delaying the plan to reopen schools could reduce [COVID-19] transmission. Every person in and around school premises, including teachers, staff and the public share the same risks of getting infected and infecting others,” Aman said.
IDAI has also received reports of increasing stress levels among children throughout the pandemic. This was caused by early marriage, increasing rates of domestic violence, students dropping out due to economic reasons, as well as other issues that could threaten children’s health and welfare.
To overcome these issues, IDAI said more effort must be made by all relevant stakeholders to provide a working solution.
IDAI also underlined the importance of educating children to boost their understanding of what it means to follow health protocols. Parents and guardians should introduce the correct way to wear a face mask at an early age, and be patient if their children have trouble following their instructions, the group said.
“After studying scientific journals, COVID-19 data in Indonesia, as well as the World Health Organization’s guidebook, IDAI believes that virtual learning is the safest learning method for now,” Aman said.
Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim previously announced that the government would give local administrations, school administrators and parents the authority to decide when to resume face-to-face teaching.
“School reopening can be done immediately or in stages according to each region’s capability and the decision of their regional heads. The schools wanting to reopen must fulfill the checklist [requirements] for face-to-face teaching. The new policy allows schools in red zones to reopen,” Nadiem said on Nov. 20.
He added that the central government had received requests for school reopening from regional administrations, which argued that some parts of their administrative areas were safe enough for on-campus activities.
Nadiem explained that the regional administrations and regional religious affairs offices, school administrations and parents’ committees must come to a general consensus before reopening schools.
“However, parents can still opt out and not allow their children to take part in face-to-face schooling; we accept their decision,” Nadiem 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.