Ensuring safe campuses

THE Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak has not halted classes at Malaysia’s private universities and colleges.

The management of Taylor’s University has requested its students and staff who have travelled to or have been in contact with anyone from China, Hong Kong and Macau, to practise the 14-day mandatory self-quarantine at home.

Taylor’s University vice-chancellor and president Prof Michael Driscoll said all students who are self-quarantined have been told to inform their programme director and lecturer of their absence.

“(This is) so they may advise and direct the students to the relevant lecture materials and assignment tasks via our e-learning platform, which students can review and complete while away from campus, ” he added.

To date, he said there have been no cases reported on campus.

“The Lakeside Campus is closely monitoring the situation, in compliance with the Health Ministry, ” he added.

Sunway Education Group CEO Elizabeth Lee said it is still business as usual on campus, but with a few extra precautionary measures put into place.

“This is to ensure we maintain a safe and healthy campus and environment for all our students to study, live and play in, ” she said.

These included instructing all staff and students who are unwell to seek immediate medical attention.

Only those who have recently visited China have been put on a “self-quarantine”, she added.

Lee said that students who came back from China had voluntarily self-quarantined themselves for fear of possibly infecting others.

As for the staff, she said all business travel to China has been stopped since Jan 28.

“Those staff who return from China will also work from home until the recommended quarantine period is met, ” she added.

“Our students’ learning is of importance and those who are unable to come on campus for classes will be dealt with separately to ensure that their studies will not be adversely affected during their absence from formal classes.

“They will be welcomed back onto the campus and into classes after they have demonstrated that they are in relatively good health after the self-quarantine, ” she added.

APIIT Education Group CEO Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said they are discouraging students from arriving from countries where there has been an outbreak.

“Should they still arrive, we require them to be quarantined for 14 days and have set aside accommodation specially for this purpose, ” he added.

He also said they have requested all students, particularly from China to complete a Health Declaration Form.

“This is to establish their movements and possible risk profile if they have travelled and then take appropriate measures based on the level of risk identified.”

He said all learning sessions are being held as normal while non-essential acitivities have been postponed.

Parmjit, who is also Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities president, said there are circulars regarding the Covid-19 outbreak from the Health and Education Ministries being followed by private higher education institutions.

Multimedia University (MMU) vice president (marketing and communication) Zambri Pawanchik said they are continuing with their scheduled classes as usual.

However, a health alert with details on Covid-19’s symptoms and disease prevention methods have been sent to the whole MMU family, he said.

“As a special temporary measure, MMU has temporarily frozen new student arrivals from China, until further notice since Feb 3, ” he added.

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