The year of 2020 slipped through our fingers with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. What we have not expected is that this pandemic is still directly impacting our lives til now. So, how would the schooling year of 2021 look like? Are our children going to learn from home with their pyjamas on? Or are they finally going to put up their school uniform to learn at school? We are going to look back into some important events during the schooling year of 2020 and followed by 3 updates about the new schooling year. What Happened In The Schooling Year of 2020? Photo Credit to Twitter @bernamadotcom Students all over Malaysia started their semester holiday on 14th March 2020, hoping to go back to school on 23rd March. Unexpectedly, our government declared the Movement Control Order (MCO) throughout the country which started on 18th March 2020. Our children started their journey of home-based learning since then. Teachers and students were unprepared for the learning transformation; both experimented with online teaching and learning. That's when Google Classroom, Google Meet, Zoom and YouTube became the hot topics among teachers, parents and also our children. The first phase of school reopening allowed several groups of students to resume their face-to-face learning at school. This phase started on 24th June 2020. Students which were allowed to go back to school were those preparing for public examination, namely: \tMalaysian Certificate of Education (SPM), \tMalaysian Vocational Certificate (SVM), \tMalaysian Higher School Certificate (STPM), \tMalaysian Higher Religious Certificate (STAM), and \tother equivalent international school examination students The second phase for school reopening allowed Form 1 to 4 and Form 6 students, Year 5 and Year 6 primary schools pupils, and remove classes (kelas peralihan) students to go back to school on 15th July 2020. Year 1 to Year 4 pupils in primary schools who were in the third phase went back to school on 22nd July 2020. However, the Ministry Of Education announced another round of school closure that took place on 8th November 2020. Both teachers and children continued their teaching and learning process through online platform until 18 December 2020. So, what are we facing during the upcoming schooling days for 2021? What can we do to prepare our children better? Here are the 3 updates you should never miss out for 2021! 3 Must-Know Updates About The Upcoming Schooling Year UPDATE 1: Black Shoes with Black Socks, so Do White Photo credit to Muar FM Facebook Page The once-hot issue about school shoes and socks has now come back with an update! Here's the official announcement from the Ministry of Education. All school students are free to choose whether to wear black shoes or white shoes. The only condition is that: \tIf you are wearing black shoes, you must only wear black socks. \tIf you are wearing white shoes, you must only wear white socks. With regards to the material of your children's school shoes, it is recommended that they wear shoes that are made of canvas or other synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester. Taking factors such as comfort, safety and health into consideration, we need to choose school shoes that eliminate odour-causing-bacteria. Mind that our children spend an average of 6 hours daily in school. Their feet will certainly become sweaty as they were covered for a long period of time. Smelly feet happens only when excess perspiration has nowhere to evaporate. So, choose school shoes that provide comfort and support to improve their posture and concentration during lessons. UPDATE 2: Important Dates and Learning Mode for This Schooling Year Photo credit to channelnewsasia.com No more school reopening during the early days in January! Due to the adjustment of schooling days in 2020, it has definitely impacted the schooling year of 2021. In 2021, our children will start their schooling year on 20th January and this applies to all states. According to the initial announcement from the ministry, all primary school pupils, form 4, 5 and 6 students and vocational college students will have face-to-face learning at school. Whereas for form two and form three students, they will first begin with home-based learning and begin their face-to-face learning session on 8th March 2021 at school. Photo credit to freemalaysiatoday.com Amendments come again as the announcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) 2.0 that started from 13th January to 26th January and also the highest record of COVID-19 cases on 16th January 2020. All primary, secondary schools and educational institutes will have home-based learning except for registered kindergartens and students who are preparing for: \tMalaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 2020, \tMalaysian Vocational Certificate (SVM), \tMalaysian Skills Certificate (SKM), \tMalaysian Higher School Certificate (STPM) 2020, \tMalaysian Higher Religious Certificate (STAM), and \tother equivalent international school examination students. Read more about the schooling days and semester holiday of 2021 here. Update 3: Always Be Prepared for Online Learning (At School or At Home) Gg Warriors Online Lesson Conducted During the MCO in 2020. One thing that will certainly stay even after the pandemic of COVID-19: online learning. Due to the advancement of technology, the process of teaching and learning has been transformed, even drastically during the outbreak of COVID-19 cases. Teachers, parents and students walked out of their comfort zone and started their journey of exploring the flip side of learning. Therefore, it is important to educate our children about using technology and the internet to enhance their learning. It is not just about playing phone games and watching pointless YouTube videos. We need to teach them how to look for information on the internet and how to use conferencing apps for their online learning. The process might be challenging and chaotic at first, but I assure you that it is worth your time, effort and patience. Looking back into my personal teaching experience in 2020, I need to admit that it was equally chaotic for me as a teacher. However, it was indeed an opportunity to explore classroom management apps such as Google Classroom to assign tasks to pupils. I was able to use conferencing apps such as Google Meet and StreamYard to conduct online classes with my pupils. I was even honoured to be invited to participate in the joint effort to conduct online lessons with pupils from all over Malaysia. Read more exciting stories about integrating technology into the process of teaching and learning here. Don't have the new school textbooks with your children? Worry not; digital textbooks are available in the KPM eTextbook Reader phone app. Read this article to know more and how you can get it for your children. We Are More Prepared For The Schooling Year Of 2021 Photo credit to utusan.com.my With our experience in 2020, we strongly believe that we will not be as helpless as when the first execution of the Movement Control Order across the country. What we can do from time to time is to stay calm with our children. Worry not about our children's learning as learning is not just about studying at school. Home-based learning has its own benefits too. Children used to spend a little time at home with long schooling hours and a full load of after-school classes. This might be the perfect time for our children to spend more time with you and you to join their learning journey side-by-side.