Schools in Sibu should not be reopened at least till end of March, says ADUN

Irene Chang (Bkt Assek)

By John Isaac

THE reported positive case of the teacher in SJK Methodist should prompt SDMC to review the decision to open all schools in Sibu.

The decision to open all schools apart from the eight primary schools located in high risk areas in Sibu until March 19 to open, does not make practical sense.

Bukit Assek assemblywoman, Irene Chang said four of these eight schools which are set to reopen on March 22 are located in the Bukit Assek area, which is a hotspot for Covid 19 positive cases.

They are SK St Rita, SJK Sacred Heart Chinese, SJK Uk Daik and SJK Chung Sing.

“I understand that the decision to reopen the schools was based on the fact that they were located outside the red zone.

“However, this decision does not reflect the reality on the ground that though the schools themselves may not be located in the red zone district, many students and teachers actually come from the red zone district,” she said.

Over the past few days, Irene said she received calls from parents complaining that while their girls can stay home for the whole of this week, their brothers had to go back to school on March 15.

“Since they come from the same household, what is the logic of keeping the girls at home while sending the boys to school?,” she asked.

If the child sent to school should go home with the infection, the whole family would be at high risk of being infected.

“For those parents who called me, I had informed them that if they were not comfortable, they should just not send their children to school.

“However, even with that arrangement, there are bound to be some parents who are pressured to send their child to school as they are worried that their children might miss out on the lessons especially since there are no online classes once the school is reopened,” she said.

“Especially when there is only one more week before the mid-term school break starts on March 26. There is just no point in putting such physical and emotional pressure on both teachers and students.

“And when cases like the teacher from SJK Methodist happens, it would put extra stress on the resources of both the health system and SDMC.

“I urge the SDMC to review the decision to reopen all the schools in Sibu until at least the end of March when it should be reviewed again. Let both teachers and students just focus on online teaching for the time being,” added Irene.