By John Isaac
NO decision has been made on whether to make it mandatory for students to don face masks in schools, says Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.
“Under the guidelines to reopen schools, the wearing of face masks in schools is encouraged and is not made mandatory yet,” he said when answering a question raised by Teo Nie Ching (PH-Kulai) in Dewan Rakyat today.
However, Mohd Radzi said the ministry was currently in discussion with several parties on the matter.
“An announcement on this will be made soon,” he said as reported by The Star.
Teo wanted to know if the ministry would provide free reusable facemasks to students, especially those under the B40 category.
The wearing of face masks was made mandatory from Aug 1 for those on public transports and in crowded public areas to prevent Covid-19 transmission, following worries of a resurgence of the virus in the community.
Those who fail to comply with the new rules will face a fine of up to RM1,000.
To an earlier question by Teo, Mohd Radzi said that a total of 217 schools were ordered to close temporarily in Sarawak and Kedah to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“A total of 213 schools were closed in Sarawak, which involves 87 schools in Kuching, 99 in Padawan and 27 Samarahan.
“However, operations for pre-school, Form Five and Form Six students will go on as usual in all three districts,” he added.
He said the decision to close the schools was made on July 29, after Sarawak state government reimposed travel restrictions within divisions in the state.
He said the schools, which was supposed to have open on Aug 3, will now open on Aug 17.
In Kedah, Mohd Radzi said, three schools in Kubang Pasu and one in Padang Terap were ordered to close from Aug 2 to Aug 29.
To a question by Dr Kelvin Yii Wuen (PH-Bandar Kuching), Mohd Radzi said the decision to temporarily close schools was on a case-by-case basis, depending on the risk factors.
He noted it did not matter if the schools were located in a Covid-19 red zone or not, as they could be ordered to close to prevent the spread of the virus.
The schools were ordered to close following a surge in Covid-19 cases in Sarawak and Kedah over the last two weeks.