The Education Ministry's guidelines for the reopening of schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been released, and only students in Forms Five and Six will be allowed to return to schools when they reopen.

All others will be under home-based learning until further notice from the Education Ministry, said the guidelines, drafted in collaboration with the Health Ministry and National Security Council (MKN).

According to the document, schooling sessions will only be for Form Five students taking the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), and for Form Six students taking the Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM), and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM). Students sitting for international examinations of the same level are also included in the back to school list.

No date, however, has been set for the schools' reopening. The Education Ministry has previously said that the reopening date will be informed two weeks in advance.

The guidelines further stated that co-academic and co-curriculum competitions will be done online.

As for the operating hours, single session schools will be allowed to open from 7am to 4pm while dual-session schools will operate from 7am to 6.45pm.

All activities, except sports, face-to-face co-curriculum activities and large gatherings of students and teachers will be barred.

All school employees will be required to return to work when school reopens, while people with business inside the premises are only allowed in from 8am to 5.30pm.

Education Minister Mohd Radzi Jidin reportedly told Bernama that the "new normal" when school reopens will include temperature screening on everyone entering the school compound and students going to recess in stages, and having their meals in the classroom.

Teachers and students will also be required to frequently wash their hands with water and soap, and use hand sanitizer, where possible.

Those who display symptoms, such as temperature above 37.5 degress Celcius, sore throat, and cough, will not be allowed to enter the school compound.

Students who may display higher temperature after having walked or cycled to school will be asked to rest first to see if their temperature returns to normal, before they are allowed to enter the classroom.

Those who display symptoms at school would be taken to the isolation rooms, before their kin, and the nearest health centres are contacted, if the need arises, he said.

Strict social distancing practises, such as standing one-metre apart from each other, will also be observed, he assured parents.

The same one-metre gap rule will also be implemented in classrooms and labs.

Similar arrangements will be made at teachers' rooms, said Mohd Radzi.

Photo source: The Star, Astro Awani