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Jakarta Post

Assess schools for virus safety before reopening, association demands

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, December 8, 2020   /   03:17 pm
Assess schools for virus safety before reopening, association demands Students wear masks and face shields in class at an elementary school in Garut Village, Darul Imara district, Aceh Besar regency, Aceh, on Dec. 2. (Antara/Ampelsa)

The government must check the readiness of each school throughout the country before embarking on the controversial school reopening plan amid the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases, the Association for Education and Teachers (P2G) has said.

“Regional leaders, the Education and Culture Ministry and the Religious Affairs Ministry should map the schools [that want to reopen] and make sure they are ready to conduct face-to-face teaching safely] in January 2021,” P2G advocacy head Iman Z. Haeri said on Tuesday as reported by tribunnews.com.

Both ministries should be proactive in making sure that schools were safe enough to reopen, as all parties in the education sector were important amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They should not only ask for written or online reports. They must conduct visits to each school,” Iman said.

Read also: Doubts remain about reopening of schools

He further said that several surveys and observation showed that there were still schools that could not implement proper health protocol for students and school employees.

“Surveys show that some schools have the bare minimum facilities and infrastructure to enforce health protocol,” Iman said.

Regional administrations are preparing to reopen schools following an announcement made by the central government in late November that face-to-face learning at schools could start in January 2021, subject to approval from each regional administration.

As for the capital city, Jakarta Education Agency head Nahdiana said the city administration was putting in place the necessary measures for reopening schools in 2021.

“We are preparing everything, including schools,” Nahdiana said on Monday as reported by tempo.co.

She did not give further details on the matter but said the agency would later announce the timetable of school reopening next year.

Read also: IDI urges govt to cancel school reopening if regional elections proceed

Meanwhile, Jakarta state senior high school SMA 8 principal Rita Hastuti said her school was ready to start face-to-face teaching next year.

The school had enacted health protocols to control the spread of COVID-19, including temperature checks for visitors and students.

“We will station officials to check the temperature [of people] at the school gate,” Rita said.

The schools had also provided 15 handwashing stations. All students and teachers would also be required to wear face masks and, if needed, face shields.

Amid the preparations, the school was still waiting for the city administration’s decision on school reopening, she added.

Rita went on to explain that the parents, in a meeting with the school committee, had conveyed their approval for reopening, as long as the school could ensure the safety of all people involved.

“We will ask for the permission [of each parent]. If they don’t want their children to attend face-to-face teaching, the students can still study at home,” Rita said. (ami)