But mental health experts worry that the added responsibility to keep Covid-19 out of schools will lead to anxiety, stress and depression.
FOLLOWING standard operating procedures (SOPs) put forward by the government can prevent a second wave of Covid-19 cases, which teachers are afraid may happen when over half-a-million upper secondary students return to school next week.
And, it will be the teachers who will have to make sure that the Education Ministry’s stringent school reopening management guidelines which spell out the necessary steps that need to be taken to protect students, teachers, staff and visitors during the pandemic, are adhered to.
The heavy responsibility is set to get even more difficult to shoulder when schools fully open for over 4.7 million of the country’s primary and secondary students.
For now, it is only the Form Five and Six students who will be heading back to school but teachers are already feeling anxious.
On top of their primary duty to educate, teachers will now have to make sure that their charges – especially the younger ones – are safe from the pandemic by enforcing social distancing rules at all times.
Mental health experts have cautioned that teachers need support in taking on these additional responsibilities.
The Education Ministry, said Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, offers counselling to both teachers and students.
“There is a demand for it, ” the Deputy Education Minister (I) told StarEdu during a visit to SJKC Sentul Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
In a special live telecast on Wednesday to announce that schools will be reopening, Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin stressed on the importance of adhering to the ministry’s guidelines.
These guidelines were approved by the National Security Council and Health Ministry, and are designed to keep students safe while in school.
The new normal will see all students having their temperatures checked by a designated teacher as soon as they arrive in school.
Those with a temperature of 37.5 degrees and above will be barred from entering school grounds.
Anyone showing any Covid-19 symptoms is also not allowed to enter the premises and must return home.
If the student came to school via public transportation, school bus or others, they would be kept in an isolation room to wait for their parents or guardians to come and get them. The district health office will also be notified.
Students will need to follow a designated pathway to their respective classrooms and each classroom will only accommodate enough students to maintain 1m between the tables.
Meanwhile, all co-curricular activities requiring face-to-face or body contact and sport activities, as well as assemblies have been put on hold till further notice.
Classes for non-examination students will be announced in due time.“For now, home learning would continue. Since teachers have returned to schools, the teaching and learning approach can be varied, with access to facilities that are in schools, ” Radzi said.