In the above context, YSI conducted a webinar on “The roles of senior highschools (SMA/SMK) in COVID-19 prevention and control.” This is the second webinar that featured five speakers - Dr. Sri Sulastri, M.Pd (head of school at SMA BOPKRI 2 Yogyakarta), Drs. Maman Surakhman, M.Pdi (head of MKKS DIY and head of school at SMA N 3), Dra. Sri Murtiningsih, M.Pd (Highschool Supervisor, City of Yogyakarta), Lambang Katresnan Yuka (a Year 11th student of SMA N. 8 Yogyakarta), and Agnes Nathania (a Year 11th of SMA BOPKRI 2 Yogyakarta).
Young (senior highschool) students have the advantage of accessing social media and virtual technology. In Yogyakarta Province, there are a total of 3,241 highschools. There could be 1.6 million students in these schools if an average school has around 500 students. They are potential asset in COVID-19 prevention and control.
The chosen focus of the webinar – namely highschool students - was strategic in that they were the right age group for peer-group model, as they trust fellow school friends when doing specific activities. They were different from elementary or junior highschool students in that the latter were deemed more obedient to stay-at-home rules. Many senior highschool students already had enough of home-based online lessons, and some went out to express their boredom by engaging in fights.
Dr. Sri Sulastri, M.Pd, said that the online learning method is one effort to reduce transmission of COVID-19, although it may not have worked as effectively as first thought. There were significant challenges, in terms of teachers’ or schools’ preparedness, students’ preparedness and the infrastructure that had to be set up. The preparedness of all parties is highly important in adapting to changes in learning method from the conventional to the online method. It would also have significant effects on post-COVID “normal” situation. There was no certainty whether the conventional method could be used after COVID-19 pandemic.
Dra. Sri Murtiningsih, M.Pd, added that schools added COVID-19-related information in its thematic learning process during online lessons. In addition, Drs. Maman Surakhman, MPd, suggested that online lessons are the most accessible form of learning during the pandemic in order to keep the planned curriculum going. Online lessons, however, require collaboration of all parties including parents, teachers and students, in order to meet the targeted objective, in terms of knowledge and skills attained by students.
Yuka an Agnes were two student representatives. They talked about their experience during home-based online study. They suggested that home-based lessons had the advantage of time flexibility, although it had its downside in that when students encountered difficulty, they did not have immediate access to ask teachers. In terms of COVID-19 prevention, schools already integrated COVID-19 education in its online lesson plans, by asking students to do prevention-related activities – i.e. making videos or photos about COVID-19 prevention and distributing these through social media.
At the end of the Webinar, Mr. Andreas Subiyono offered an insight – that schools had strategic position in COVID-19 education, particularly with regards to prevention. SHEEP Indonesia Foundation itself focused on prevention through campaigns and education (dissemination of information) in conjunction with other stakeholders. Schools had strategic position in building synergy – i.e. it had important roles to play in community education. This essentially meant that schools could make wide impacts in community where students lived, through COVID-19 education to students.