Schools will reopen on June 24, 2020, but only for students in Forms Five and Six.

Education Minister Mohd Radzi Jidin, in a press conference today, said the move will impact some 500,444 students taking their upper secondary examinations, at schools registered with the Education Ministry, nationwide.

This includes those taking Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Tinggi Pelajaran Malaysia (STPM), and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM), as well as students sitting for international examinations of the same level.

"Once schools reopen, they will closely follow the guidelines on reopening drafted by the Education Ministry, in collaboration with the Health Ministry and the National Security Council.

"These guidelines have been distributed to all schools, on June 4," he said.

Mohd Radzi also assured parents that the safety of their children will be well taken care of when schools reopen.

"When they reach the school gate, teachers will take the students' temperature, and those with temperature above 37.5 degrees celcius will not be allowed to enter the premises.

"The same level of checking will be conducted on teachers, school staff and individuals who visit the school for business."

In the classroom, tables will also be set up one metre apart from each other, and recess time will be in stages, he said.

"The children will have to queue up in the canteen to buy pre-packed food from the canteen and go back to their classes to eat, under the teacher's supervision.

"I urge parents to provide food from home, if possible," said the minister.

Despite the reopening, school assembly, sports and co-curriculum activities will still not be allowed, he added.

"The guidelines will be improved from time to time, according to needs and suitability.

"All other students will be under home-based learning until further notice from the Education Ministry."

Asked whether students would have to wear face masks in schools, Mohd Radzi said they will be provided if a student displays any symptoms. Otherwise, parents are also encouraged to provide face masks for their children.

As for the maximum number of students which would be allowed in a class, he said it would differ between classes, as long as the one metre gap between tables rule is followed.

To a question on what kind of action can be taken against schools that don't follow the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) set, Mohd Radzi said the state education departments have been tasked to monitor schools and conduct ground spot checks without prior notice.

According to him further, his ministry is still studying if there is a need to change the schooling calendar for this year, given the unprecedented long leave that came following the COVID-19 outbreak.

Photo source: Astro Awani