File photo of students on their way to school. Image: Shutterstock

Schools in the country are set to open on June 2 where physical classroom learning will be introduced in phases, announced the minister of education.

Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Haji Hamzah Haji Sulaiman in a press conference on COVID-19 status update held at the ministry of health said that this initiative is to ensure the well-being, safety and health of students, teachers and staff nationwide while curbing the COVID-19 outbreak.

“This includes primary and secondary schools, sixth form centres, vocational institutions and the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) under the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of the Religious Affairs.”

Meanwhile, re-opening dates for international schools are subject to the respective institutions.

The minister further said that the following operating procedures are shared with school leaders to launch learning and teaching sessions which include reopening of schools in phases; guidelines for schools and distancing and personal hygiene preparations.

Minister of Education Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Hamzah Hj Sulaiman during a press conference at the Ministry of Health. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Reopening of schools in phases

The education ministry will reopen the school session in phases according to advice from the health ministry where priority will be given to students who are slated to sit for public examinations under the Education and Religious Affairs Ministries.

• The first phase which will take place from June 2 to June 13 is for students of Years 6, 8, 10 Express, 11, 12, and 13.

Guidelines for schools

YB Dato Seri Setia Haji Hamzah said all curriculum and co-curricular activities involving assemblies will be suspended to ensure safety and social distancing between students and teachers.

File photo of a local school Image: Shutterstock

Social distancing during teaching and learning is particularly emphasised for primary and secondary schools where smaller classes will use a larger space such as conference rooms, library space, halls, or prayer halls.

“Education institutions can determine the number of students attending school and learning from home subject to internet access and video-conferencing facilities at their respective homes,” said the education minister.

Meanwhile, primary schools with a small number of students with internet connectivity issues may choose to have the students attend school for five days a week, added the minister added.

Laboratory and practical classes in secondary schools are encouraged to be organised in the afternoon or divided into smaller groups.

Distancing and personal hygiene preparations

The ministry of education emphasised several aspects of safety and cleanliness to curb the COVID-19 outbreak which include;

File photo of students listening to a presentation by a professor at their institution. Image: The Bruneian

• Temperature checks for everyone that enters the school premises
• Limiting one parent to send their children to school
• Providing hand sanitisers in strategic locations around the school
• Suspending school group or gatherings, outdoor and physical activities and drama classes
• Classroom seats must be at least one metre apart from each other

In school canteens, servers are required to wear face masks and gloves; practice hygiene at all times including washing their hands before handling food; regular cleaning of the premise and implementing a pre-order system (a day before) as an option for students.

The ministry also identified specific needs for these students and schools.

• School hostels will be temporarily closed where students who live far away can follow learning from home sessions five days a week. This initiative will be revised following the progress of the COVID-19 situation

Education institutions can determine the number of students attending school and learning from home subject to internet access and video-conferencing facilities at their respective homes. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

• For the Paduka Seri Begawan Sultan Science College (MSPSBS), students are required to attend school for subjects that involve projects and practical classes

• This includes students of other schools who have practical sessions and projects needed for their public examinations

“To enhance the awareness and understanding of the importance of maintaining social distancing, personal hygiene and control measures during this period, students, parents, and teachers will be provided with information on the matters of concern,” said YB Dato Seri Setia Haji Hamzah.

The Ministry of Education will continue to work with the Ministry of Health to stay up to date with the latest developments and advice.

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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