Indonesia kindergarten explores new ways to teach over pandemic

A kindergarten pupil takes part on an online class-session amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Semarang, Central Java province, Indonesia, July 22, 2020. Picture taken July 22, 2020. (Reuters)
Updated 27 July 2020

Indonesia kindergarten explores new ways to teach over pandemic

  • Everyone attending the school is required to wear a mask, face shield, gloves and have temperature checks
  • Most schools in Indonesia have not resumed full-time physical classes yet

SEMARANG, Indonesia: As schools struggle to keep pupils engaged during the pandemic, a kindergarten on Indonesia’s Java island is getting pupils back in the classroom using makeshift transparent cubicles and also sending teachers on home visits with social distancing barriers.
Permata Hati Kindergarten, a private kindergarten with 135 pupils in the city of Semarang in Central Java province, is allowing six pupils per day to spend time in the classroom, giving children a chance to attend school once every two weeks.
Central Java has recorded Indonesia’s fourth highest number of infections and at least 287 people have died in Semarang alone, according to government data.
Accompanied by parents, the children sit within protective boxes made using plastic sheets that are disinfected after each classroom session to get guidance to direct their learning.
“The transparent box is one of our commitments for prioritising health protocols,” said headmistress Hindarwati, who uses one name like many Indonesians.
Everyone attending the school is required to wear a mask, face shield, gloves and have temperature checks.
Parents uncomfortable with risking sending their children to school can choose home learning with online sessions via video conferencing applications like Zoom.
“I’m not bored at all, because I can do Zoom calls with all my friends, I can also meet my teacher. I love it,” said five-year-old Jihan Notharisa.
The learning sessions include dancing, music and Qur'an reading and the kindergarten also sends teachers to visit students at their homes, with portable protective screens for social distancing.
“As parents, we strongly support this activity, so that our children can meet with their teacher in person even though the time is limited,” said Nita Dwi Nurhayati, a mother of a pupil.
Most schools in Indonesia have not resumed full-time physical classes yet unless in “green zone” locations with fewer coronavirus cases. Overall, Indonesia has reported 98,778 COVID-19 cases and 4,781 deaths, the highest toll in East Asia.


South Korea considers more vaccine buys as coronavirus cases spike

Updated 30 min 12 sec ago

South Korea considers more vaccine buys as coronavirus cases spike

  • South Korea is battling one of its largest waves of coronavirus infections yet

SEOUL: South Korea’s ruling party has called for the country to buy millions of additional coronavirus vaccine doses after a spike in infection numbers raised concerns about the government’s existing plans.
South Korea already plans to secure enough doses to vaccinate 30 million people, or about 60 percent of the population, but Democratic Party lawmakers said they would appropriate funds to buy doses for at least 44 million people.
“The party plans to allocate an additional 1.3 trillion won ($1.2 billion) to next year’s budget,” an official with Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Nak-yon’s office said.
South Korea is battling one of its largest waves of coronavirus infections yet, fueled by small outbreaks in the densely populated capital city of Seoul and surrounding areas.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported 438 new coronavirus cases as of midnight Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 34,201 cases and 526 deaths.
The government’s current vaccine purchase plan puts it well ahead of a World Health Organization goal for the early purchase of supplies for 20 percent of most vulnerable people, and the minimum of 40 percent agreed by European Union nations, Britain and EU partners for their populations.
Korean authorities have said they are not in a rush to procure large numbers of vaccines quickly because the country has succeeded in keeping infection rates at controllable levels, preferring to wait and see which vaccines worked best.
Securing more vaccines of different types is also necessary because their safety has yet to be guaranteed, the KDCA said on Monday.
The KDCA has said they do not expect to start vaccinating the public until the second quarter of 2021.
The Korea National Enterprise for Clinical Trials said that as of Monday 3,500 people have pre-registered to participate in clinical trials for coronavirus experimental vaccines and treatment drugs, though a smaller number will be selected to participate.
Under the current plan, the government has secured a third of the needed doses via the COVAX facility, an international COVID-19 vaccine allocation platform co-led by the WHO, with the remaining doses purchased from private companies.