PUTRAJAYA, 30 July 2020:
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah has declared school areas as safe and free from the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the Health Ministry (MoH) did not detect any positive cases since the reopening of schools. “The issue is outside of the school. The schools are a risk but manageable. If we detect any (positive) cases, we will take action to close the school.”
During an engagement session with media practitioners yesterday, he said MoH was holding discussions with the Education Ministry to issue guidelines for the standard operating procedure (SOP) to prevent congestion outside the schools – especially after the end of learning sessions.
“We are considering to release the students in stages, not at once. So, this can reduce congestion after school. This is our effort to ensure compliance with the SOP and it will be improved constantly.”
Dr Noor Hisham noted the two ministries are working together to include the public health aspect as an education syllabus. “We have taken action to include the public health syllabus.”
Asked on the Covid-19 vaccine, Dr Noor Hisham said it was still at the third phase of research and Malaysia was not selected to carry out the study.
“Our concern is whether the vaccine is effective or not and is there any side effect? So, we have to look at the research data before we can recommend the vaccine.”
However, the reopening of 164 secondary and primary schools in the districts of Kuching, Padawan and Samarahan – which was earlier scheduled for Aug 3 – has been postponed to Aug 17.
The Sarawak’s State Disaster Management Committee (JPBN) said in a statement the postponement – involving Remove Classes up to Lower Sixth for the secondary schools, and Year One to Six for primary schools – would be expanded, involving 25 schools in Padawan district and 24 schools in Samarahan.
“To date, the postponement of school reopening in the Kuching, Padawan and Samarahan districts involve 213 schools. For the preschool classes, Form Five and Upper Sixth, the school sessions will continue as usual.”
The decision was made based on the advice from the state Health Department, National Security Council and mutual agreement between all quarters including the Education Ministry, following the latest increase in Covid-19 cases recorded in the state.
Meanwhile, Sarawak JPBN, through the volunteer team, Sarawak Volunteers (SV), would be assisting students in the state who would begin their study in matriculation colleges nationwide on Aug 3, in terms of transportations (to their colleges).
“The initiative is aimed at helping the matriculation students who had just registered but cannot be accompanied by their parents (due to movement restrictions). The state government will co-operate with SV to reduce the impact and ease the parents’ burden.”