Clearly, the curriculum targets cannot be met. With these limited conditions, teachers are starting to be selective in choosing what they are going to teach their students. At SDN 1 Jenggala state elementary school in North Lombok regency, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), one of the teachers, Eko Andrian, S.Pd. SD., has been focusing his instruction on improving his students’ knowledge of health, especially as it relates to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia has caused many activities not run normally or has halted activities altogether, including school activities. The absence of sufficient knowledge about the virus has made many parties unwilling to take risks. This is the case at SDN Jenggala 1 state elementary school in Tanjung subdistrict, North Lombok regency, West Nusa Tenggara, where learning activities were stopped altogether for some time.

However, with more information coming in terms of prevention efforts, the school has started its activities once again, albeit with a different approach than usual when it comes to existing health protocols.

“When the situation started to improve in North Lombok regency (KLU), although it had not fully recovered, we coordinated with the Education Office and the village government to conduct learning activities outside the actual school” said Eko Andrian, S.Pd SD., a 4th grade teacher at SDN 1 Jenggala state elementary school.

The education authorities have indeed provided an alternative learning model during this pandemic. Learning activities are now being carried out both online and offline, which of course are adjusted to the conditions in each location. At SDN 1 Jenggala, for example, conditions and the situation of the parents are not conducive to online learning. For this reason, Eko and his fellow teachers have taken the initiative to meet with their students outside of schools.

Together, they mapped the students in each hamlet in the village and are currently teaching their students in small groups so that they can be more effective and adhere to existing protocols. In each of these activities, they continue to coordinate with village officials and task forces in the local village. For those children whose homes are far away, Eko and his colleagues make special trips to visit and teach them.

According to Eko, it is not possible to meet existing curriculum targets during this pandemic. To meet current challenges, he is focusing more on how to build awareness and strengthen knowledge regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and health in general for his grade 4 students. Eko has adapted his learning materials to the context of the present situation accordingly.

“When I was teaching material eight, which covers the environment theme, I gave my students pointers on how to keep the environment clean and explained the relationship between the environment and human health. When we can’t teach the students everything, we have to be able to choose what they need to learn right now,” said Eko, who is also one of the Regional Facilitators (Fasilitator Daerah, or Fasda) of INOVASI early grade literacy (literasi kelas awal) program in North Lombok.

Learning that is made contextual, such as this, has definitely had a positive impact. In addition to enabling students to take better care of themselves, they are also relatively quick to understand the material that is provided. This is because they have also been exposed to this information at home.

Through creative and mindful adaptations such as those of Eko and his colleagues, the teaching and learning process becomes livelier because students can be involved in discussions about topics that they have heard being discussed, both on television and in the home environment.