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Jokowi calls for calm amid school closures

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Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo says the safety of every student and school staffer is of utmost importance during Covid-19. AFP

Jokowi calls for calm amid school closures

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has called on parents to stay cautious and patiently continue assisting their children in remote learning, suggesting that the majority of schools across the country would still be closed for the remainder of the year amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing the public during a virtual commemoration of National Teachers’ Day on November 28, the president reiterated that the safety of every student and school staffer was of utmost importance during the present coronavirus emergency.

“I realise that there are many parents who can’t wait until schools reopen,” Jokowi said, as quoted by kompas.com.

“But we need to be careful, because health and safety are most crucial.” He went on to say that schools across the archipelago would still be required to apply and enforce prevailing health protocols once they were allowed to reopen, so as to further stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Jokowi suggested that parents have their children accustomed to complying with physical distancing measures around the house to ensure obedience during future physical classes at school.

“The key to controlling [the spread] of Covid-19 is our discipline,” the president said. He conveyed his appreciation for teachers and students, commending them for their swift adaptation to online learning with the aid of information and communications technology.

Challenges inherent to distance learning, such as limited interaction between students and their teachers, could be overcome by bolstering the role of parents in their children’s studies, he said.

“Communication and cooperation between teachers and parents must continue to be improved,” Jokowi said.

The government recently gave local administrations, school administrations and parents the power to decide whether their schools should reopen for in-classroom learning for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, or from January to July next year, regardless of the risk level of Covid-19 infection in their region.

Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Anwar Makarim previously allowed some students in certain regions to go to school, news agency Antara reported.

During a visit to Rote Ndao regency in East Nusa Tenggara earlier this month, Nadiem said schools in green or yellow zones may conduct face-to-face teaching, but the decision would be made by the school committee, headmaster and the local administrations.

Although students in green or yellow zones may return to school, Nadiem said, whether or not to take advantage of this option by sending their children to school was up to the parents.

The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network

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