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Aceh prepares to reopen schools

Jakarta Post - November 15, 2020

Jakarta – The Aceh administration has issued standard operating procedures for schools as it seeks to resume in-person learning during the pandemic.

Under the procedures, schools must provide on-campus facilities to implement health protocols and form a COVID-19 task force.

Aceh Education Agency communication and information technology head Teuku Farial said preparations were moving ahead even though no final decision to resume in-person teaching had been made.

"As a preparation, we've set the SOPs, which include [providing] health facilities, raising awareness and forming [COVID-19] task forces at the school level," Farial said Friday as quoted by kompas.id, adding that the procedures were necessary to avoid virus clusters at schools once in-person learning was allowed.

Aceh has yet to receive a nod on resuming the learning session in classrooms, as none of the provinces 23 regencies/cities had been declared a green zone, or an area with low-risk of COVID-19 infection.

"We're still waiting for our region to earn green zone status. Until then, we cannot tell when we will restart in-person classes. Nevertheless, the preparation continues," said Farial.

Aceh has been applying remote learning, through mobile applications, since the epidemic hit the country in March.

Juanda, the head of the teacher development bureau of Aceh's Teachers Association (PGRI Aceh), said teachers had put maximum efforts into remote teaching. Nevertheless, the school day was shorter than with in-person learning.

Amid the situation, several schools have been given permission to organize learning sessions in classrooms, especially for 12th-graders ahead of final exams.

"Some schools have started to have in-person learning with strict health protocols and SOPs for emergency situations," said Juanda.

Raihan of the Aceh office of the Indonesian Medical Association (IDI Aceh), said 394 children had contracted COVID-19 in the province, with most of them being students. He urged the authorities to prioritize health for all when in-person learning resumed.

In September, the national COVID-19 task force added Aceh and Bali to its list of prioritized provinces with the regions seeing rising daily case tallies.

The two provinces were added to the eight provinces previously named top priorities in the government's COVID-19 response, task force chief Doni Monardo said. The initial eight provinces named were Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, North Sumatra, South Kalimantan, South Sulawesi and Papua.

Jokowi appointed Doni and Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Pandjaitan to supervise the implementation of COVID-19 measures in prioritized provinces.

As of Saturday, Aceh has seen a cumulative 7,862 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 6,265 recoveries and 282 fatalities. (nkn)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/11/15/aceh-prepares-to-reopen-schools.htm