Primary and secondary school students in Malaysia will return to schools beginning July 15, said Senior Minister and Education Minister Mohd Radzi Md Jidin on Wednesday (Jul 1).
Schools have the option to reopen with single, dual or rotational sessions to ensure social distancing, he said.
“For secondary schools, Form 1 to Form 4 students as well as those in Remove classes will return to schools next Wednesday, Jul 15.
“For primary schools, those in Year 5 and Year 6 will return to schools on Wednesday, Jul 15, while the reopening date for students in Year 1 to Year 4 is Wednesday, Jul 22,” he added.
Remove classes are for students who need to spend an additional year on transition classes before they can attend Form 1.
Schools in Malaysia were ordered to close since mid-March and lessons were moved online when Putrajaya enforced the movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Following the easing of most MCO measures as the COVID-19 situation improved, secondary schools have earlier reopened on Jun 24 for students taking their school leaving examinations.
The ministry had then said that students in other educational levels would return to schools in stages.
Having taken the school closure into consideration, the school calendar for 2020 has also been amended to reduce the number of school holidays.
On Wednesday, Dr Mohd Radzi said the ministry has identified three models of operation for schools to reopen fully.
The first model will see schools opening with one session, provided they can accommodate all students with social distancing measures in place.
The second model – dual session – is for schools that are unable to house all students in one session.
The third model is a rotational model for schools that do not have enough space to accommodate all students in two sessions.
“For this rotational model, the learning method is hybrid, which is face-to-face in schools during school days, and home-based learning on days they are not scheduled to attend schools,” the minister explained.
The model to be employed by each school will be known a week before schools reopen, he added.
The senior minister said the ministry acknowledged the weaknesses in implementing online learning, as it is a new approach to teachers, students and parents.
“In addition, many of the students could not participate in online learning due to limited access to communication technology. As a result, home-based learning is not as effective as face-to-face interaction,” he noted.