COVID-19 Mitigation Task Force still hard at work on schooling SOP

Learning and teaching in the classroom. (Photo: Septiawan)

IO – The Ministry of Education and Culture sets the target of recommencing face-to-face learning at schools during the COVID-19 pandemic at the start of the next semester and academic year, in July 2021. The schools get reopened at this time as the target of vaccinating teachers is expected to be achieved by June 2021. Restarting face-to-face learning is also meant to serve as a means to instill adherence to health protocols in schools for both teachers and students. Therefore, the Ministry requests that schools prepare the necessary facilities and standard operational procedures (“SOP’s”) to protect health in their environs.

Spokesman for the COVID-19 Mitigation Task Force Wiku Adisasmito stated that the plan to reopen schools for face-to-face learning must have a strong basis that contains various considerations. Furthermore, parents of students have the right to withhold their children from participating in face-to-face learning if they are still concerned about possible infection of the COVID-19 virus. “Regional Governments, educational organizers, parents of students, and the students themselves must all be in agreement that face-to-face learning can and should recommence,” he said on Monday (01/-3/2021).

Currently, the Task Force is organizing the SOP for reopening schools for face-to-face learning in July 2021. The Government is also preparing to provide health protocol supporting supplies and facilities, including masks, hand sanitizers, hand-washing stations, and providing routes and access to schools to prevent crowding. “Several other relevant Ministries are also getting their official decision ready, as we the Task Force are still arranging the SOP. It’s coming soon, but please just wait for the official statement,” he said.

The Ministry of Health’s Spokeswoman for COVID-19 Vaccination Siti Nadia Tarmizi added that reopening schools need to consider more than COVID-19 vaccination of teachers and other educational workers. “We still need to discuss this comprehensively. We cannot simplify it to just because there is vaccination,” she said on Friday (26/02/2021). “Vaccination is just one of the many intervention steps we need to do to mitigate the disease. If we want to reopen schools, we need to consider several other factors: First, the Government must consider the speed of COVID-19 infection. Second, we need to ensure that the people comply with health protocols in order to mitigate the disease. Third, we need to check the coverage of the vaccination completed by the time the schools are set to reopen. If we did achieve 100% of the target for vaccination coverage for teachers and educational workers, we can certainly reconsider reopening schools for face-to-face learning.” (eka)