The government is mulling over plans to reopen school campuses by the end of the year or at the beginning of 2021, after students were required to study from home in the final few months of the school year to remains safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the government’s official academic calendar, the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year is slated for July 13.
However, it may order schools to reopen for on-campus activities in late December at the earliest — if the pandemic shows signs of receding.
“That’s just an estimation. According to our calendar, [the new school year starts] in mid-July, but I won’t recommend [students going back to campus],” Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Muhadjir Effendy said in a statement on Monday.
He assured that the government would make a decision soon, saying the education sector would be the last to be reopened after the implementation of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB).
“Compared to other sectors, education will be the last. Given the unmeasured risks, we can’t calculate [the exact date] just yet.”
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo previously suggested to delay the start of the school year, as allowing schools to reopen their campuses as scheduled would be a great risk to the country’s education reported.
The ministry’s deputy coordinator of education and religious affairs, Agus Sartono, said the ministry had considered allowing students to return to campus in late August or early September.
“But the end of December is better […] We don’t want to be like France and South Korea. They reopened their schools too early and many students were exposed [to COVID-19],” he said.
The Jakarta Education Agency previously planned to reopen schools on July 13, in line with the government’s academic calendar. The plan, however, had to take into account the central government’s policies and each school’s preparations in curbing COVID-19 transmission.
According to agency head Nahdiana, authorities have formulated three different scenarios for students returning to school.
The first option is to reopen some schools and allow all of their students to attend, the second is to reopen several schools and only allow half of their students on campus and the third option is to reopen all schools while requiring some students to study from home.