Ensure guidelines in place before schools reopen

Dear Diary,

It’s International Nurses Day – one of the heroes in the Covid-19 pandemic. Thank you for your service.

Those in the medical profession have worked tirelessly to cure Covid-19 patients and are one of the reasons our death rate is so low.

Separately, today we have an inkling of how schools will be when they finally reopen as Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Jidin said last night on TV there will be a maximum of 17 students per class.

This is indeed a good move but do schools have enough classrooms to practise this?

When my daughter started Form One this year, there were 54 students in her class before it was trimmed to 40 when some changed schools and others were moved to different classrooms.

I spoke to several parents, here are other questions:

  • Do we have enough teachers for the extra classes?
  • What about the timetable?
  • Will recess be staggered to ensure physical distancing can be properly observed?
  • How will schools control the kids when it’s time to go home? It can be a mad rush.
  • Will all staff, including security, cleaners, co-op workers who sell the books and knick-knacks, and canteen operators who are especially important as they will be cooking and serving food – be tested before they are allowed to work with the kids?
  • What about bus drivers and transporters? Who will monitor them?
  • Will children need to wear masks when they are in school?

Hopefully, the ministry will announce proper SOPs before school reopens.

On the political front, Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham has resigned as the Perak Speaker while in Kedah, PKR’s Sidam representative Dr Robert Ling Kui Ee and Lunas representative Azman Nasrudin quit the party, resulting in Pakatan Harapan losing power in Kedah.

In Selangor, dine-in, food trucks and fishing are allowed while parks will be opened. Hiking and camping are still banned.

Here’s how Day 56 of the Movement Control Order (MCO) unfolded.

7.05am: EPL IS ON – The British government gives the English Premier League the green light to restart the season from June 1.

8am: PARCEL MYSTERY – I received my coffee and chocolate drink from Arissto last week but I can’t find the parcel anywhere in the house. It’s a good thing I got 10 boxes of the chocolate drink from friend Melanie Tham before MCO. It’s tasty hot or cold. If you add a few chilli flakes and brandy to the hot chocolate, it makes for a perfect nightcap.

9am: HE’S BACK? – Mike Tyson, who is 53 this year, hints at a comeback! And I thought I was watching too many Rocky movies!

10am: COMBATING FAKE NEWS – Twitter says it began tagging “misleading” and “disputed” claims about the Covid-19 pandemic in a stepped-up effort to label potentially harmful content.

11.37am: ZOOM OUT – Conference call with the Twentytwo13 crew. I couldn’t get Zoom to work so we went back to the good old WhatsApp video call. Damn, I really do need a shave.

12.30pm: EXPERIMENT – While speaking to my colleagues, my ‘tipu-tipu bread pudding’ – I call it that as I didn’t follow any recipe – was cooking. Threw everything into a bowl, steamed it before finishing it off in the oven.

1pm: DOWNTURN – Malaysia’s industrial production index fell 4.9 per cent from a year earlier in March, the sharpest decline in nearly a decade.

2pm: WARNING – Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob warns of tightening of rules as Malaysians are taking advantage of the relaxed Conditional MCO. But isn’t that why we need –proper guidelines instead of suggestion?

Other announcements include:

  • Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) at Selayang Baru, Gombak has been extended.
  • KL wholesale market and Pusat Bandar Utara EMCO ends today.
  • Just name and contact numbers needed to enter business outlets.
  • House calls and private appointments with barbers and hairdressers not allowed.

3.16pm: GOODBYE – Sebastian Vettel to leave Ferrari at end of Formula 1 season.

4pm: REFRESHING – Here’s a recipe for pineapple soft serve from Valerie Bertinelli.

I also used it to make tuak pina colada – mixing the ice cream with rum and Ahin pineapple tuak.

5.07pm: LOWEST YET – Only 16 new cases today – the lowest recorded, which takes the total to 6,742. Zero deaths mean fatalities remain at 109. Another 110 patients discharged which means 5,223 have been cured. Health Ministry director-general Datuk Seri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah encourages the public to wear a face mask when going out while an SMS from the National Security Council says to wear it if you’re unhealthy.

6pm: HAPPY ‘PILLS’ – A number from Bo Diddley for International Nurses Day.

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