With classes resuming and circuit breaker measures potentially being eased on June 2, the Ministry of Education (MOE) should consider additional measures on top of what is already being implemented in schools.
For starters, have separate morning and afternoon sessions and, within each session, stagger the start and dismissal times for each level. For example, Primary 2 pupils could start at 7.25am while Primary 4 pupils could start at 7.45am.
This would help to mitigate the overcrowding on public transport and school buses, make it slightly easier for students and the general public to practise safe distancing, and keep students of different levels from interacting with one another.
Another practice that could be adopted is to take students' temperature at the school's main gate instead of in the classroom, which would help ensure that those with a fever do not infect others at the school.
Also, equip teachers with portable public address systems so that they can be audible even when wearing a mask.
Recess times should be extended to at least one hour. Currently, most schools have a break of only around 35 minutes. With safe distancing in place, it will take longer to queue up to buy food.
Finally, increase time spent on physical education. Healthy bodies have better immunity against viruses.
MOE should inform all stakeholders in advance of the steps to take to prepare for the reopening of schools.
Lee Cheng Ho