Education Min needs to have a blue print on school reopening – Dr Yii

A teacher taking the body temperature of a student when schools resumed in July 2020. – The Star photo.

By S. Harrish

THE Education Ministry (MoE) has been urged to put into place a clear and comprehensive plan to handle any possible Covid-19 outbreaks in schools when they are reopened.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii hoped MoE had clear plans leading up to the Oct 3 reopening date as it was needed to allay parents’ concerns.

“Parents need to know that it is safe to send children to school and help them catch up with their studies after missing school for almost one and a half years.”

He said if MoE does not implement a proper plan, they might continue to close schools without an alternative plan which will have a big impact on the whole school ecosystem including students, canteen operators and bus school operators.

Dr Yii said in a statement today that all plans should be based on data and science, and World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

“MoE must have a clear, comprehensive and strategic plan that is convincing and relevant to the school’s opening and closing guidelines, developed jointly with health experts from WHO, UNESCO, UNICEF, Health Ministry, and healthcare experts.”
He added that these transparent plans and SOPs should be presented to the people to prepare them.

“Important parameters including vaccination coverage among all teachers, staff, canteen operators, bus drivers and even students must be sufficient.”

On top of that, he said the government need to subsidise self-test kits and make it a norm even in schools where students and teachers test frequently to reduce risk of an outbreak in the school.

The DAP parliamentarian said schools can then be opened progressively based on risk assessment and preparedness of the school to adhere to all necessary SOPs.

“MoE must avoid making decisions based on the “one size fits all” method and give autonomy to the district level education office and parents to make the best decisions for their children.”