The reopening of secondary schools yesterday for students sitting for public examinations after almost three months of closure due to COVID-19 and the Movement Control Order (MCO) witnessed mixed feelings among students and teachers.

The new normal teaching and learning (PdP) process that students will go through provides students with the opportunity to prepare for the exams and still adhere to standard operating procedures (SOP).

Observations on social sites found on average people were happy with the reopening of schools but advised teachers and students to continue to practice the SOPs that have been set following the still existing risk of COVID-19.

Facebook user Azhari Pilus said: "May all schools comply with the SOPs outlined. Schools should also ensure that Form Five and Six students do not take the SOPs lightly.

"The way these students handle their classes and comply with the SOPs can convince us to open schools for other classes. Welcome back to school, for the teachers and students involved," he said.

A teacher, Najemiah Azlin, said she was excited to come back to school and said the school environment was out-of-the-ordinary as the movement of every student has to be supervised at all times.

"The first day of school went smoothly, students followed the SOPs but sometimes in the excitement of seeing their friends they greeted and embraced. It was fun to see students going back to school in the new normal. Teachers also need to be ready early in the morning to take the students temperatures and so on, she said in her Facebook post.

"Students have also been posting on Twitter about the first day of school after the MCO, and some have even posted their pictures in class using face masks.

User @syazwani in her tweet said: "The first day of school, it is different, feeling excited, never used a mask before, but had to wear for safety sake, the hand sanitiser is ready in the bag, first day at school is fun".

The new normal also makes students excited after sitting at home for a long time.

@thatvanillagal said: "Last time, when we buy in the canteen we would hide food under the tudung not to be caught by the prefect just to snack in class".

@Asyrfhmzh said: "It's been a long wait for schools to reopen, it's difficult to study online, it's easy to be in the classroom if you don't understand anything we can straightaway ask the teacher, hope COVID-19 is over soon, miss learning in the classroom with other students".

Yesterday, 500,444 students from 2,440 secondary schools who will sit for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM), Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM), as well as the equivalent international examinations returned to schools to continue their studies.