A TOTAL of 29 primary and secondary schools in Penang have been ordered to close for two days due to Covid-19 infections, said Penang Education director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad.
This number of schools closed are for yesterday alone and does not include the previous 28 closed late last month.
“The schools were ordered to close for two days to enable sanitisation work to be carried out and for the school management to reassess the risk before any decision (on whether to extend the closure) can be made, ” he said.
During the closure, the affected students will continue their studies through home-based teaching and online learning according to their school timetables, he added.
Penang health committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said lately, the state had seen a rise in Covid-19 cases at schools.
“There have been cases where the teachers were positive and did not realise it, while there are cases in which students got it from their parents.
“I urge parents and teachers to be more aware of the situation.
“A teacher should not come to school if any of the family members are positive.
“Do not come to school even if you do not have any symptoms but had close contact with someone who is Covid-19 positive.
“We have had cases due to close contact without symptoms and believing it is okay to come to school.
“We want parents and teachers to understand the basics. If you have Covid-19 symptoms or have no symptoms but had exposure to someone who is positive, stay at home, ” she urged.
Norlela said many cases at Penang’s schools had started from parents working in factories or attended social functions.
“The virus is in the community, which means there is a likelihood of getting it if you gather in large crowds like at weddings or dinners.
“People take off their masks to eat. And then when you speak to one another, you do not realise how saliva particles travel.
“If it is a restaurant or a small space, there are high chances you can get it, ” she said.
Norlela reminded the public to be careful in confined spaces and never let their guard down.
“When in public toilets or lifts, try to keep your mask on at all times, even if you are alone, ” she said.
Norlela said she had requested for Penang to have a targeted movement control order in the areas with high cases, rather than a state-wide one.
“I did reach out to the Health Ministry as I know how badly the economy will be affected.
“We do not want the economy to collapse; a lot of businesses have suffered.
“If we follow standard operating procedures and everyone plays their role in staying safe, we can fight this without too much damage, ” she said.
Norlela called on Penangites to register for the vaccine and not miss their appointment dates.
“When you miss your date, it delays the process of getting the whole nation vaccinated.
“The faster we do this, the sooner our lives can in some way go back to normal, ” she said.
On April 26,20 schools were ordered to be closed for two days after some students tested positive for Covid 19.
Affected students were told to continue their studies through online learning according to their school timetables.
The following day, eight more schools in the state were also asked to close for the same reason.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said checks showed that these students had likely caught the disease from their parents who contracted the virus at work.
“I hope that with strict adherence to standard operating procedures, the state will be able to break the Covid-19 chain, ” he said.