Online classes should continue in most parts of Sarawak, says Bukit Assek rep

Irene Mary Chang Oi Ling (N.51 Bukit Assek)

By S. Harrish

THE Sarawak government has been urged to discuss with the Education Ministry to allow online classes to continue in the State.

Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang said online classes should continue in all zones of Sarawak except for those that have consistently been classified as green zones.

She said the online option should continue at least until the end of

March, when the third phase of the vaccination programme would be rolled out.

“Since we are already at the end of February and there is already a lot for the students to catch up on academically, one more month of virtual learning would be nothing compared to the whole recovery plan being jeopardised.”

Chang said in a statement that the State government and SDMC should acknowledge and address the concerns of many parents in Sarawak red zones.

“They are worried about sending their children back to schools in March and there have been many calls to defer the face to face classes.

She said the State government should realise that even with the vaccine now being available, most students and their families would not be adequately protected at this stage.

“Most parents fall into the third phase, which would only start from March-end.”

The concerns of these parents are not without basis as shown by the high numbers of students infected with Covid-19 during the third wave last year.

It was reported that between Sept 20 and Oct 21, more than 1,000 students were infected, with 587 pupils aged between seven and 12 and 670 cases of those between 13 and 18 years.

She said the recent case where 22 students of SMK Meradong were tested positive, showed that it was always challenging to contain the infection among students.

“This is especially so for the restless primary school students.”

Chang said SDMC should not ignore the cries of these Sarawak parents as we can only expect a drop in cases when herd immunity is achieved through the vaccination programme.