Back to school, goodbye online classes – for now

Happy yet worried. That sums up the feelings of Florence Manson, a kindergarten teacher whose 13-year-old daughter, Lavanya, will finally return to school on July 15.

This follows today’s announcement by Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin that schools will reopen fully in the next three weeks.

The first phase of reopening took place last week when over half a million students who will sit for the SPM, SVM, STPM, STAM and equivalent international school examinations returned to school. Today, pre-schoolers resumed classes.

With the number of Covid-19 cases falling drastically – only six cases in the past three days – the Health Ministry and National Security Council have deemed it safe to allow all school children to return to school.

Mohd Radzi said students in Form 1 to 4, Remove Class and Form 6 will return to school on July 15, as will Year 5 and 6 pupils. Year 1 to 4 pupils will return to school on July 22.

“It was hectic today with the younger ones as we had to explain the SOPs (standard operating procedures) and why they could not be in close contact with their friends,” said Manson.

“It will take about two weeks for them to get used to the new norm as we cannot hug them or hold them. We used to teach them to greet their friends by shaking hands. We can’t do that now.

“We had plenty of training to prepare for this. I believe those in primary and secondary schools would have had enough time to get ready.”

She added her daughter, who is in Form 1, is excited to go back to school.

“I’m happy she will finally get to meet her friends. As a parent, of course, I’m worried about Covid-19.

“The good news is that the cases have started to dwindle. That’s a relief.”

Koay Jien Li, who is also in Form 1, also can’t wait to go back to school as she didn’t enjoy lessons via Google Classrooms.

“While it (online lessons) was a new experience, I prefer being taught in school as I get to meet my friends,” said Koay.

“It will be different now as we can’t mingle as we used to, but I feel being in school will be better than online classes.

“While I look forward to going back to school, I will miss the lazy days we had these 100 over days!”

International school Global Oak Tree Scholars (GOTS) co-founder Veronica Shepherdson said she is excited to welcome back her students.

“Today was the first time since MCO (Movement Control Order) began on March 18 that I felt normal as we welcomed our pre-primary scholars.

“Seeing the little ones in school just made my day,” said Shepherdson, who added she is looking forward to welcoming her primary and secondary students to the Shah Alam-based school later this month.

“Our team has done a fantastic job with online lessons, but we prefer face-to-face coaching.”

Here’s the round-up of other news in The News Normal today.

SPORTS MINISTER WANTS CONTACT TRAINING TO RESUME

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican will propose that full-contact training for team sports like football and martial arts be allowed. He hopes to get the green light during the special ministerial meeting next week.

He is also keen to meet operators of football fields, futsal courts and academies soon.

RAISING COVID-19 AWARENESS

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government is organising a logo and tagline creation competition for a Covid-19 awareness campaign.

The competition began today and ends at noon on July 10. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will present cash prizes of RM5,000, RM3,000 and RM1,000 to the top three winners. For more information, visit www.kkmm.gov.my or www.penerangan.gov.my.

Meanwhile, Malaysia recorded only one new Covid-19 case today and that too was an imported case. The total number of cases stands at 8,640.

MUSLIMS BANNED FROM USING FACEAPP, SAYS FT MUFTI

Muslims are prohibited from using FaceApp, a popular mobile application that can swap a person’s face between genders.

The Federal Territories Mufti Office, in a statement on its website, said the use of the mobile application encourages the tendency of changing God’s creation, thus the prohibition.

HARSHER HK LAWS

New Hong Kong security laws came into effect today to punish crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, heralding a more authoritarian era for China’s freest city. Today also marks the 23rd anniversary of the former British colony’s handover to Chinese rule.

LEICESTER TO CONTINUE PLAYING

Leicester insists it can still safely train and play at the King Power Stadium despite a Covid-19 spike which has locked down the city. The Foxes travel to Everton today (1am in Malaysia) and host Crystal Palace on Saturday.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said cases were three times higher in Leicester than anywhere in the UK.