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Back to physical school - are we ready?

Schools to reopen in stages from 1st September 2021 screams the headlines and we go into panic mode. Before we start worrying, let's have a closer look at the dates and figures. According to the press release by the Ministry of Education dated 17th July, 2021, the following have received at least one dose of the vaccine. 61.30% or 253,366 teachers and administrators, and 46.33% or 10.876 support staff The following banner was also released at the same time. It shows that wef 1 Sept 2021 - only students from Phase 3 will return to school in stages - only students sitting for examinations from Phase 2 will return to school - students from Phase 1 will continue with PdPR or Homebased teaching and learning.

Where are we now? We are now currently on the NRP (National Recovery Plan). 8 states are now in Phase 2. They are Perlis, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang (wef July 5), Penang (wef July 7), Sabah (wef July 10) and Sarawak (wef July 14). Perlis may move into Phase 3 soon. All other states are in Phase 1. States that move to Phase 2 will not revert to Phase 1. Should cases rise, EMCO will be applied. To faciliate planning (for returning to work and arranging childcare if kids return to school), we also need to understand the SOPs for reopening of businesses. SOP for Phase 1 as of 16 July 2021 is here SOP for Phase 2 as of 16 July 2021 is here What we need to know about the plans to vaccinate students. Here are some excerpts from news articles on vaccination of exam students - "The Covid-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) says that for now, the government has agreed not to give Covid-19 vaccination for those aged 17 and below, including SPM candidates, to avoid risks of myocarditis and pericarditis. However, students sitting for major examinations and have reached 18 years of age, such as STPM and STAM (Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia) candidates, including those who will be 18 this year, vaccination plans involving them will proceed as scheduled with appointment dates set,” Full article here. - "The government must not rush to reopen schools pending a decision on administering Covid-19 vaccines to adolescents, as the country is still battling a high number of new daily infections, said parent and teacher groups. However, some were agreeable to the proposal to vaccinate the adolescents, with priority given to SPM candidates on a voluntary basis." I also shared my views as a parent here. Knowing the facts, figures, news and SOPs puts things in a better perspective and help us plan for our kids to return to school while we return to work. It's been a challenging time and moving forth we need to learn to return to some sort of normalcy and adapt to new routines again. Enjoy the rest of the school holidays and stay safe!

Koay Joo Bee

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