Schools began preparations ahead of reopening announcement

A staff from SMK Cheras placing tape on the floor in accordance to the 1m social distancing rule. – Picture from The Star

By John Isaac

SCHOOLS across the country have started preparations for students to return while waiting for an official announcement from the Education Ministry.

A ministry official said they had been informed by state Education Departments that cleaning preparations in schools had started.

SMJK Choong Hwa in Bidor, Perak, began sprucing up its premises last week.

According to The Star, its principal Margaret Lim said she planned ahead to avoid doing last-minute work that would tire out her cleaning crew, which consisted of only three members.

“My school has limited human and funding resources. So our teachers and senior assistants have been doing their part to prep the school.

“We have started cleaning up the compound from mowing the grass, sticking square markers on the floor, realigning furniture for social distancing purposes and sanitising the area, among other things, ” said Lim, who has stocked up on hand sanitisers as well.

Noting that hiring private sanitation companies would incur high costs which the school could not afford, she said teachers and senior assistants had taken up the cleaning activities.

“We have bought sanitising solution sprays and are wiping down all the facilities with it.

“So far, all the money spent for cleaning work was from the school budget, ” she said.

Lim said the government would be handing out funds to schools – in accordance with each school’s population – to buy necessary items.

“But we have been notified via a letter that schools would be given a lump sum that can only be used

to purchase hand sanitiser, antibacterial handwash and thermometers.

“Face masks, face shields and protective equipment are not on the list, ” she said.

The school has 730 students and is expecting 127 Form Five students to resume classes.

SMK Cheras principal Jamil Jamaludin said cleaning activities were being conducted in stages.

“Our cleaning campaign started last week. We go building by building from Block A to H. We started early to avoid a last-minute rush, ” he said.

Jamil hoped the ministry would provide clear guidelines to all schools soon.

“We are waiting for the standard operating procedure to carry out more cleaning activities. For now, we just do what we can, ” he said.

The school has 1,129 students, with over 220 in Form Five.

On Monday, Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said the ministry would give a 14-day notice for the schools to reopen.

However, it would be limited to Form Five and Form Six students.