Schools Have Option to Open in January 2021 reports that the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture plans to authorize regional governments in Indonesia to reopen closed schools beginning in January 2021. 

The Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Makarim published on Friday, 20 November 2020, an Announcement on the Execution of Studies during ‘Even’ School Semesters for the Academic Year 2020/2021 dring the COVID-19 Pandemic. Formerly, only schools operating in “green” low-risk zones were allowed to conduct face-to-face teaching sessions. However, now, Minister Nadiem Makarim has removed the zone limitation for the conduct of face-to-face teaching sessions.

The Minister’s policy change is based on Makarim’s view that each region knows best the local situation, condition, needs, and local capacity on education matters. At the same time, Makarim acknowledges that within a single locale, the situation and requirements can vary markedly from one district to another even within a single regency. 

“Thus policy take effect beginning from the ‘even’ semester for the academic year 2020/2021 or on January 2021. I hope the regions and schools will enhance their readiness for this new policy,” said Madiem Makarim.

Nadiem continued, explaining that three parties determine whether or not a school can reopen. Those three parties are:

  • The regional government/district office for the Ministry of Religion.
  • The head of the respective school.
  • The guardians of the student sitting on the parent-teacher association (komite sekolah).

Accordingly, if any of the three elements mentioned above refuses to give a green light, face-to-face teaching will not take place.

Nadiem took pains to add: “Even if a school is opened, I am compelled to underline that the parents can still choose not to allow their children to attend. In the end, the final approval for a student to return to school is with the parent.” 

In short, while the State can permit face-to-face teaching, it is not required.

Health Protocols

Nadiem Makarim also underlined that face-to-face teaching at schools could only be undertaken if strict health protocols, such as maintaining minimal physical distance of 1.5-meters, limited class size, and requirements to wear one-time use masks made of three-layers of think cloth were all maintained.

Educators and teachers with known co-morbidities for COVID-19 are not allowed, for their own protection, to be involved in face-to-face teaching environments with children.

And, finally, all activities involving groups of people are forbidden. In this context, canteens are closed, sports banned, and extracurricular events suspended. 

“There are no other activities allowed outside teaching and learning,’ insisted Nadiem.