School reopening: What about unvaccinated students?

(Bernama Pic)

By John Isaac

THE government should explain how it plans to deal with students who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 ahead of the planned reopening of schools in September, Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub said.

This was after the Education Ministry on Saturday announced that schools will gradually reopen starting Sept 1, subject to risk assessments by the Health Ministry and National Security Council (NSC).

The government initially planned to vaccinate examination-year students with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine but later held back on the plan due to a rare risk of heart inflammation.

For now, the government is only offering the vaccine to teens with underlying health conditions but may roll them out to others at a later stage.

“How will the ministry ensure the safety of unvaccinated students? Following the spread of the Delta variant recently, there have been many reports of sporadic cases.

“It is not only schools (that are at risk) but also the schooling environment, including parents, bus drivers, food suppliers at canteens and others,” Salahuddin (above) said in a statement reported by Malaysiakini.

He also asked the Education Ministry to disclose the percentage of students and supporting staff who have been vaccinated.

Salahuddin cautioned that without a clear standard operating procedure (SOP), there could be a resurgence of education-related Covid-19 clusters.

Such clusters were prevalent in April, but subsided after schools were closed beginning in May.

Salahuddin also called on the government to update the people on the 150,000 free laptops it had promised to provide students as they are now undergoing home-based learning.

In early June, the government said it had distributed some 13,000 laptops, the same number it announced in April.