Pre-schoolers, Primary 1, and Primary 2 students have started school on Monday (1 March 2021). The remaining Primary 3 to 6 will resume their classes the following week on 8 March 2021. Secondary school kids, at the final stage, are slated to return after the mid-term school break on 4 or 5 April 2021 \u2013 depending on which states they are in. Source: gpsbestari.com As parents, we always ask ourselves these questions: Do we have the time to get school supplies and the full attire (uniforms, socks, shoes, and hijabs) sorted on time? How do we juggle physical schooling and remote working, which is a new norm now? Here are some recent updates from the Ministry of Education which could smoothen your transition. Crossing Borders For School Some parents have to face this particular challenge, which involves transporting their kids from one state or district to another for school. As of the moment, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Dato\u2019 Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has informed the public that parents only need to get a letter from respective schools to bypass the protocol. There is no need for police approval, as the directive has already been reviewed with the police force\u2019s superiors and the same info disseminated across the police force. Hence, there should be no mishaps. Regular Clothes Permitted Until The First School Term Break The Ministry of Education has also made a welcoming change for parents who are scrambling to get uniforms sorted out amid juggling deadlines and finances. Source: utusan.com.my A uniform directive has been issued to all government schools; one that states where students are allowed to attend classes in regular clothing, with the underlined necessity that the clothing is tidy and decent. The Ministry of Education hopes that this move will aid in getting every student back to the classroom for face-to-face learning. More news on the directive can be found in this link. Secondary Schools Only Resume After 4 April 2021, Why Is That? Secondary school-goers will be returning to school much later, as SPM 2020 students are undergoing their examinations from 22 February 2021 to 25 March 2021. This allows last year\u2019s SPM students to complete their exams with minimal interruption. Social distancing and tightened SOPs are in play \u2013 hence, more classrooms are needed instead of the usual exam hall space. Apart from needing additional rooms, there are also transit rooms for pupils who are sitting for more than one paper in a day. Secondary schools' starting dates differ by states and are split into two groups: \tGroup A on 4 April 2021: Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu \tGroup B on 5 April 2021: Selangor, Perlis, Perak, Pulau Pinang, Malacca, Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Putrajaya, the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Sarawak, and Labuan The dates for schools to resume apply across the board of restricted movement control \u2013 MCO, CMCO, and RMCO. On a side note \u2013 the first term school holiday will run from 26 or 27 March 2021 to 3\/4 April 2021, and is once again dependent on Groups A or B, with group A starting first. What Do Parents Say About Schools Opening Their Gates Again? The initial response was jumbled, with some parents sharing that they had already spent money on gadgets and Internet data to support the online PdPR programme. DidikTV was launched just a few days before the announcement of schools opening again, causing further confusion on why face-to-face schooling had to be resumed. On the other end, online classes came with their own share of hiccups, with parents and students struggling to cope with online classes, homework, assignments, and timetables. Some kids who were relatively new to using laptops and gadgets did not know how to handle call drops and reconnecting to their online classes, which tend to be a regular glitch. Concentration, navigating digital platforms, and the effects of prolonged screen use are a few more salient problems that are normally seen in the online class environment. Read more on the long-term effects of remote learning here. The usual run-around involved parents or guardians working from home having to hover and help kids while juggling with conference calls and work deadlines. The entire process was a strain, even in a year into remote learning. From A Mother Perspective Source: Vijita de Silva archives Mother of four, Vijita de Silva has mixed feelings on schools resuming. She is relieved that there is no need to teach at home any longer, but is also concerned on how her Standard 2 daughter and other kids in primary schools will effectively follow SOPs and social distancing at the same time. She adds that perhaps school should not be resumed for this group, at least until vaccinations have been received by the community, including parents too. She has also found it difficult to source school supplies, with many shops and outlets out of stock. Thankfully, there is no need to worry about school textbooks and workbooks, as these have already been subsidised by the school. Physical classes are essential, as kids sorely miss the school environment and their schoolmates. Studies have shown that being home for too long can affect a child mentally, and pose long-term physical issues, too. SOPs have some good precaution steps in place, including temperature checks and isolating students who show symptoms in a designated room. The sooner students get used to the new norm in schooling with face masks, hand washes and sanitisers, the better it is in the long run. For more parenting news, stay tuned to story.motherhood.com.my.