By: Atiek Rachmawati, S.S (Alumnus of Regional Literature Study Program FSSR UNS (now FIB) Year of 1999 / Javanese Language Teacher at SMA N 2 Grabag, Magelang)

The government of Indonesia, through its Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, extends the implementation of leveled Restriction on Community Activity Policy (PPKM), effective from 5-18 October 2021. At the same time, the education sector can taste the relaxation with the implementation application permits for conducting a Face-to-Face Learning Simulation and Limited Face-to-Face Learning (Limited PTM). As reported on the webpage, the Secretary of the Education and Culture Office in Central Java Province, Suyanta, states that the PTM policy is based on the Instruction of the Minister of Home Affairs (Inmendagri), and the Instruction of the Governor of Central Java Number 10 of 2021 on the Implementation of Level 4, Level 3, and Level 2 Community Activities Restrictions (PPKM) for Corona Virus Disease Handling in Central Java Province. In term of education, schools located at districts/cities with level 4 restriction will not be allowed to hold PTM (learning activities remains conducted virtually), while for those located in districts/cities with level 2 and level 3 restriction, are welcome to implement a limited PTM.

The threat of Covid-19 variants is still haunting the community, requiring limited schools to directly initiates a limited PTM. However, a school must go through the licensing and simulation process to assess its readiness, requirements that must be met, and final evaluation following the PTM simulation. The school must obtain permits from students’ parents, Health Center permission, letter of permission from the District Covid Task Force, and recommendations letter submission from the District/City Education Office, as well as verification from the Regional Education Office.

If all permits have been approved, then the education unit can conduct a PTM Simulation that lasts for two weeks under the following provisions, (1) the Education Unit is only allowed to hold a PTM Simulation with a maximum of four student groups with a maximum number of students per group of 18 people. (2) Maximum learning period of 30 minutes within 1 hour of learning, or 4 hours of learning in a day. (3) Minimum distancing set in 1 classroom is set at least 1.5 meters. (4) After finishing the lecture, the student must directly go home with no extra activities, and break periods are allowed. (5) Students must be in good health. (6) Students must get permission from their parents. (7) Face-to-face meeting is recommended to students who are live around the school area, within a maximum distance of 7 Km from school, or have the ability to use their own transportation vehicle to travel to school.

School’s readiness in conducting PTM simulation and PTM is limited because of facilities and infrastructure conditions that must be fulfilled by the school. Each Education Unit must be ready to implement PTM Simulation Standard Operation and Procedure (SOP). Schools must prepare facilities and infrastructure in accordance with the 5M health protocol standards.

Moreover, aside from the facilities and infrastructure preparation within the health protocol standards, the school needs to prepare innovative learning methods that allow students to join the lecture from school or home. The initiative in hybrid learning and blended learning systems were put forward in every Education Unit. Indeed, each Education Unit strives to implement and accommodate these two learning systems to familiarize students in adapting to new habits during this ongoing pandemic situation.

As quoted from, hybrid learning is a learning system that combines various approaches, namely face-to-face, computer-based, and online-based learning (internet and mobile). Meanwhile, blended learning is basically achieved by combining the advantages of two learning methods, face-to-face and virtual learning. Blended learning can also be defined as a combination of face-to-face and online learning but more focused on the social interaction element. Hybrid learning and blended learning can be an alternative in combining the face-to-face learning modes in school and online learning.

This trending learning system is indeed proven to be a powerful solution for continuous control on students learning activities, which can also reduce student boredom and learning loss. This method is considered more effective and efficient while at the same time can enhance students’ and educators’ digital skills.

Technically, this hybrid learning method allows 50 percent of students to attend a face-to-face lecture. For example, if there are 36 students in the class, then only 18 students are allowed to participate in the face-to-face study. The rest (the other 18 students) are required to join the lecture virtually from their homes, at the same time as the scheduled face-to-face lecture, in accordance with the schedule given by the school.

Similar to a normal lecture, teachers are also obliged to prepare syllabuses and lesson plans. This syllabus and lesson can be designed in blended patterns to accommodate both learning channels. The material delivered in the face-to-face lecture can also be accessed by students through various distance learning platforms available. Through these methods, students are expected to understand the material delivered by the teacher easily and are not bounded by the media and time. Educational units or teachers can take advantage of online interaction facilities with learning management systems (LMS), for instance, Google Meet, Zoom Meeting, Microsoft Teams, Free Conference Call (FCC), and other learning media. Active interaction between teachers and students is expected to re-establish effective and efficient teaching and learning processes.

This hybrid learning model does offer solutions and has become a new trend in the education sector. However, there are still risks that must be considered. The interaction between students in school is one of the main concerns. Therefore, each of the teachers or education personnel must strictly enforce the 5M health protocols to the students. After joining a face-to-face lecture at school, students must go straight home and immediately take care of their cleanliness. Meanwhile, teachers can monitor students’ location by asking students to share location through WhatsApp messaging service.

Students who are joining the virtual lecture session from their home according to the schedule set along with the face-to-face lecture at school will still encounter obstacles related to internet quotas or less stable internet networks. Therefore, the hybrid method is may not be possible, as the number of students who are expected to join the online learning is not in accordance with the expected condition.

However, all the risks and obstacles will only become a small area of improvement if the system is implemented with high awareness and strict health protocol discipline. The hybrid method can be the effort to control students’ learning loss, thus, students will not lose certain knowledge and skills that will certainly lead to the decline of the academic process. Distance Learning (PJJ) is, indeed, not fully effective yet, and it creates a learning-lost for the students. Good cooperation by involving parents, teachers, and the education unit environment becomes an important part of the success of student education because education is a shared responsibility. (***)

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