KUALA LUMPUR, May 12 — Schools could be limited to no more than 17 students per class to maintain social distancing once they are allowed to reopen, said Education Minister Senator Mohd Radzi Jidin.
In a report by Berita Harian, the senior minister said the ministry has conducted a field trial to determine the reasonable number of students within each class based on classrooms’ dimension and social distancing measures.
“Before this, classrooms had 35 students but in the new norm, that must be reduced. In the context of social distancing, the most is 16 to 17 students and for some schools with larger classes, this number could reach 20 people.
“This means the number of students in each class must be split half. We are also looking into how to conduct lessons for both classes or whether smaller classrooms needed to be shifted to a larger hall, for example.
“Therefore, the ministry has several options on the advice of the Health Ministry that are being considered to ensure students can return to school without compromising their safety when the Covid-19 outbreak subsides,” he was quoted saying in a televised interview last night.
Mohd Radzi said these measures were some of the standard operating procedures (SOP) for post-Covid-19 school management to be fine-tuned later.
Citing other examples, Mohd Radzi said canteen SOPs will also be enhanced to ensure there was no congestion during normal recess, as crowds could expose students to infection risks.
“What is going to be done is that food will be packaged and we have guidelines for eating in the canteen which will involve where and when students will have their meals,” he added.
He said the ministry will ensure compliance with the SOPs through the reopening of schools for student examinations, such as those in Forms Five and Six.
He nevertheless conceded that the SOPs will be challenging for teachers who must ensure students are well-prepared to face the new norm.
“Teachers must relook into online lessons, how students are coping and how much of the syllabus could be finished teaching. So there are many things that teachers must perform post-movement control order (MCO) which pose a challenge to them to see how far it could further be improved on,” he said.
Schools remain closed despite the conditional movement control order in which most business activities save for those relying on crowds and close contact have been allowed to resume.
Malaysia added another 70 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, extending the upward trend that emerged after previously reaching a new low on May 5.