news

Temperature Checks And Staggered Recess: MOE Unveils SOP For Schools When They Reopen

The guideline details how students will have to move around the school compound in a safe manner, from the time they arrive until they leave for home.

Cover image via Liang Xu/Xinhua & Bernama/Free Malaysia Today

The Ministry of Education (MOE) has released a 34-page guideline in preparation for the reopening of schools

The guideline details how students and staff will have to move around the school compound in a safe manner, from the time they arrive until they leave for home, to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in schools.

The standard operating procedures (SOP) were formulated by the MOE in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Security Council (NSC).

A school staff measures the distances between tables, to ensure it adheres with the SOP.

Image via Mohamad Shahril Badri Saali/New Straits Times

First and foremost, temperature screening is one of the new normal practices that students will have to get used to when schools reopen

The guidelines state that students, teachers, and contract workers will have to get their body temperature taken and recorded upon entering the school compound.

It also states that schools will have to ensure students, teachers, and others in the school community go through a health screening every day before the school session begins.

Those found with a temperature higher than 37.5°C and show symptoms such as sore throat, coughing, and breathing difficulties will not be allowed onto the school premises.

A student gets a temperature check before entering a school in Vietnam.

Image via EPA/The Conversation

According to Bernama, Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said the ministry was aware that some students walk or cycle to school and would have temperatures slightly above 37.5°C when they arrive at the school compound.

"So these students will be asked to rest first to ensure that their body temperature returns to normal before it is checked again," he said during a visit to see the preparations for school reopening in Semenyih recently.

"Each school will have an isolation room. If the student shows any symptoms, they will be brought here and the school, besides contacting the parents, will also contact the nearest health centre for further action."

Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.

Image via Bernama

The guideline also stipulates that recess will be held in stages and students would be eating their meals in their classrooms as to not crowd the canteen area

"Students who need to buy packed foods will be queuing with a 1m gap between one person and another before returning to their classroom to eat," Radzi said.

“Hence, the situation at the canteen will be in an orderly manner and the parents don't have to worry about the kids jostling to buy food as recess time will be carried out in stages to ensure that not all students would gather at the canteen at any one time," he elaborated.

The guidelines will also require schools to put up signs and arrows around the school to guide the movement of students and to make sure they practise social distancing.

Other measures in the SOP include arranging tables in classrooms to be at least 1m apart and making sure everyone in the school washes their hands often.

Image for illustration purposes only.

Image via Reuters/The Edge Markets

Teachers in their staffrooms and students living in dormitories will also have to follow protocols detailed in the guideline

Teachers will need to place distance markers in their staffrooms and make sure their own sitting arrangement respects physical distancing, as that in the classroom.

Meanwhile, students living in dormitories will have their beds spaced 1m apart and must practise social distancing in dining halls.

The Education Minister said once schools reopen, the ministry will see how the guidelines are implemented and if there is room for improvement.

He also stressed that there was no date set yet for the reopening of schools and that he was working closely with the MOH and the NSC to decide on the matter.

You can read the summarised guidelines here.

The battle against the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet:

Read more COVID-19 stories on SAYS: