Malaysian Association of Private Colleges and Universities (Mapcu) president Datuk Dr Parmjit Singh said that most did not go home for the celebration.
“Some institutions are discouraging their students from travelling back now and to delay their arrival,” he said when asked what steps higher education institutions are taking to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
He said Mapcu suggests that all institutions keep a close eye for any symptoms appearing in any of the students returning from China.
Parmjit, who is also APIIT Education Group CEO, said several of its Chinese students have written to delay their return or start of their classes at Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation due to the virus.
As of December 2018, there are some 16,000 students from China in Malaysia.
Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) president Prof Dr Lee Sze Wei said the institution had contacted all its China students about their recent international travel and people who they had physical contact with.
“Those who have been to China recently or have been in contact with people from China have been advised to impose self-quarantine for at least two weeks,” he said.
Lee said that most of its China students are currently in Malaysia, except for two who plan to come back soon.
UCSI University has issued an advisory to students and staff informing them to register on an online form to state if they have travelled to China between the period of Jan 13 and 27, including those who are currently in China and will be returning after the period.
“Students and staff who have been to China recently will be monitored closely to ensure they remain well upon their return.
“The Students’ Affairs and Alumni is also in the midst of contacting every student who is currently in China to check on their whereabouts and health conditions,” said the UCSI Group Corporate Affairs.
The university also advised students and staff who are sick not to report to class or work, and seek immediate medical attention.
Heriot-Watt University Malaysia provost and CEO Prof Mushtak Al-Atabi said it has a crisis management group that is ready to be deployed whether it is dealing with haze, a virus or other emergencies.
“We stay connected with other universities so that we can share best practices,” he said.
Heriot-Watt University, he added, has an app that is called SafeZone for staff members and students to report any accident or health situation.
“Through this app, we can establish a safe perimeter and reach out to our community anywhere in the world,” he added.
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