While some have decided to go ahead with the usual preparations such as buying uniforms and books in anticipation of their children being physically present in classes again, many are still uncertain about whether they should be sending their children to school.
Clarice Gousi from Kudat, Sabah, is among those who are not fully confident about sending their children back to school yet, but have prepared school essentials anyway.
“I’m glad we have a longer time to prepare and I’m equipping my children with hand sanitiser and face masks.
“But I am still worried about them attending classes again as we aren’t out of the woods yet, ” said
the 39-year-old mother of six schoolgoing children aged between six and 16.
Vie Gilbert said her daughter is looking forward to making new friends when she enters Year One, but the mother of three is more worried about whether the school can strictly follow the Covid-19 standard operating procedure (SOP).“I was very worried at one point but thankfully, we have a Whatsapp group for all the parents in my daughter’s class and we are each other’s pillar of support, ” she said.
Gilbert, 42, added that she had made the necessary preparations but bought fewer items this year in case a stricter movement control order was imposed.
Azlina Abdullah, 48, is hoping for schools to reopen so that both her children can follow their lessons properly in classrooms.
“Many parents in my children’s schools say their children cannot focus on their schoolwork when lessons are conducted online.
“I think they fear the teacher more, so they will sit up and pay better attention, ” she quipped.
Azlina is also confident that schools will strictly adhere to the SOP just as they did when schools reopened in the middle of last year.
But another mother, who only wanted to be known as Reena, preferred classes to continue online as she was not prepared for her two children, aged 10 and 12, to attend physical classes yet.
“I feel stressed just thinking about my children’s well-being and safety, and seeing the number of cases go up every day doesn’t help matters.
“Last year, we had to deal with the downside of paying extra fees for extracurricular activities, concert day, sports day and school trips that did not take place.
“But we had no complaints about the teachers’ dedication to ensuring that our children did not fall behind in their lessons, ” she said.
National Union of the Teaching Professions secretary-general Harry Tan said parents and teachers need to work together to help students keep up with their studies, especially those who lack the means to follow lessons online.“They could personally hand over learning materials, send recorded videos or even do correspondence learning, ” he said.
Tan added that the pandemic had caught both teachers and parents off guard and they had to find ways to make home-based learning enjoyable for students.
“Teachers are a creative lot and they adapted pretty quickly as they understood the need for change, ” he said.