The government has enacted in-person learning protocols for the academic year of 2020/2021 for schools in Indonesia. The in-person learning protocols were enacted based on a Joint Decision of the Ministry of Education and Culture (MOEC), Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA), Ministry of Health and Ministry of Home Affairs on Guidelines for In-Person Learning in the COVID-19 Pandemic Period for the Learning Year 2020/2021 and Academic Year of 2020/2021 ("2020 Joint Decision").
Based on the 2020 Joint Decision, in-person learning will be conducted in two phases, i.e., transition period phase and the new normal phase. Approval to conduct in-person learning at schools will be decided based on the readiness of each education unit, such as, the risk level of COVID-19 contamination, the healthcare facilities and equipment at a school and the access to transportation for each student to the school. Education units will be expected to maintain a monitoring procedure during the implementation of in-person learning. Below we elaborate on the key provisions of the in-person guidelines under the 2020 Joint Decision.
- Key provisions of the guidelines for in-person learning in the COVID-19 pandemic period
- Implementation of in-person learning
- Other notable provisions
Key provisions of the guidelines for in-person learning in the COVID-19 pandemic period
The 2020 Joint Decision provides options for students/parents/guardians to choose to continue learning remotely at home. The 2020 Joint Decision also stipulates that an education unit should revert to learning remotely as soon as there is a newly confirmed case of COVID-19 in the education unit. The emergency break to halt the implementation of in-person learning may be conducted simultaneously in one sub-district, district or regency based on the risk level of COVID-19 infection.
Further, if the evaluation of the implementation of in-person learning shows that it has negative impacts on health, the regional or central government may recommend to stop or suspend the implementation of in-person learning and revert immediately to learning remotely.
Implementation of in-person learning
In-person learning will be conducted in two-phases
Under the 2020 Joint Decision, in-person learning will be conducted in two-phases, i.e.:
(a) Transition period
The transition period will be the first two months after the start of in-person learning. Each education unit will divide students and teachers into groups to implement the in-person learning in different shifts to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection. When implementing in-person learning during the transition period, schools may not yet operate/conduct the following facilities/activities (i) canteen, (ii) sports or extracurricular activities and (iii) other activities that are not related to the learning activities in the education unit, such as parents meetings, recess outside of the classroom, etc.
(b) New normal period
If the regional government or the regional office of the MORA does not revoke the authorization for in-person learning after the implementation in the transition period, the education unit may proceed to implement in-person learning in the new normal period. In the new normal period, facilities and activities that were prohibited to be operated/implemented in the transition period will be allowed on the condition that general health protocols should still be strictly implemented.
In conducting in-person learning within the two periods, general health protocols should still be strictly implemented.
Authorization to conduct in-person learning
The authorization to conduct in-person learning is issued by the Head of Education Department, Head of Provincial Office of the MORA or Head of Regency Office of the MORA ("Authorities") based on their scope of authority. The Authorities will ensure the readiness of the education units to implement safe in-person learning by conducting verification and evaluation of each education unit based on the inspection list provided by the MOEC. The inspection report will then be reported to the (i) regional government and the MOEC or (ii) the MORA. The Authorities will then issue an authorization for education units to conduct in-person learning and proceed with the transition period phase.
The Authorities will monitor and evaluate the implementation of in-person learning using the format provided by the MOEC in the MOEC's website, which will be reported to the (i) regional government and the MOEC or (ii) the MORA. The Authorities will be responsible for stopping or suspending the implementation of in-person learning in an education unit if there is a newly confirmed case of COVID-19 in the education unit.
Preparation for in-person learning
Before conducting in-person learning, the Head of Education Unit, i.e., Head of Early Childhood Education, Head of Elementary School Education and Head of Middle School Education will be responsible to:
- maintain the availability of sanitation and hygiene facilities, such as availability of clean water, hand sanitizer, disinfectant, and clean toilets
- maintain accessibility to healthcare facilities such as clinics, hospitals and other facilities
- maintain a mandatory mask-on area at all times
- have a thermogun
- maintain a list of people in the education unit that are prohibited to enter the school/ learning premises, i.e., those that have a travel history that may entail a high-risk of COVID-19 infection, have a contact history with a person who has been confirmed positive with COVID-19, do not have access to transportation that implements social distancing and/or have an uncontrollable comorbid medical condition.
- form a COVID-19 task force in the education unit that may include parents/guardians
- prepare activity and budget planning for each education unit, which may cover socialization activity, capacity plan for in-person learning, procurement of sanitation, hygiene and healthcare facilities in the education unit
- prepare learning groups and schedules for students and teachers to conduct in-person learning in different shifts in the transition period
Spatial planning and psychological counseling for in-person learning
In implementing in-person learning, each education unit must:
- maintain a 1.5 meter distance between people who are seating, standing or queuing by providing a clear guideline of distance in the classroom areas, canteen, prayer rooms, arrival point, teachers' rooms, office and administration rooms, library and school cooperative
- maintain classrooms with good ventilation and air circulation, or if that is not possible, in-person learning should be conducted in a more open area in the school premises
- maintain one-way corridors or stairways, or provide clear separation and pathways in corridors and stairways if that is not possible
- maintain mental health counseling by the counseling guidance teacher or homeroom teacher or other teachers to provide psychological support in the education unit
Monitoring of the implementation of in-person learning
The health, hygiene and safety team of the COVID-19 task force in the education unit should maintain a health monitoring and reporting procedure of the members of the education unit. The procedure should include the following:
- Health monitoring should focus on the general symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, headache, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, anosmia. Health monitoring should be done every day before entering the education unit premises. If a member of the education unit shows any of the general symptoms of COVID-19, he/she is expected to isolate for 14 days.
- If a member of the education unit has had contact with a COVID-19 infected person, the education unit's COVID-19 task force will contact the parents/guardians/emergency contact person to be referred to the closest healthcare facility, and report to the head of the education unit.
- The education unit's COVID-19 task force should also report to the head of the education unit if a family member or a person living in the same house as a member of the education unit is identified to be positive with COVID-19. That member of the education unit is expected to isolate for 14 days.
- The COVID-19 task force is expected to report the monitoring activities to the head of the education unit every day.
- The procedure should also cover the procedure for street vendors near the school/education unit premises. During the transition period, street vendors are prohibited to operate near the school/education unit premises. Street vendors will be allowed to operate during the new normal period but general health protocols should still be implemented.
Socialization on the implementation of in-person learning
When implementing in-person learning, the COVID-19 task force of each education unit should conduct socialization as follows:
- conduct socialization for parents/guardians in relation to (i) the date the education unit will start implementing in-person learning, (ii) the schedule and groups for the implementation of in-person learning in different shifts, (iii) learning methods, and (iv) things that needs to be prepared by the members of the education unit and parents/guardians
- provide posters and communication platforms, information and other forms of educations at strategic areas in the education unit premises to promote health protocol, COVID-19 symptoms, mandatory mask-on areas, social distancing and other forms of media
- convey the health protocols that must be implemented to guests visiting the education unit
Other notable provisions
Aside from the above, other learning activities such as laboratory work, studio activities, on-site learning and other outdoor or practical learning activities are allowed with strict implementation of health protocols. Campus activities are also allowed if proper health protocols and the guidelines that will be issued separately by the relevant authority are followed.
In-person learning for institutions that provides courses are recommended to continue learning remotely. If not possible, in-person learning that requires laboratory or studio activities, or other practical learning activities will be allowed with strict implementation of health protocols. Further guidelines will be regulated by the Directorate General of Vocational Education.