JOHOR BARU: Education groups have raised their concerns over students’ safety after 27 schools in Johor were closed in the past few days following the detection of Covid-19 cases.
Malaysian Education Concorde Organisation chairman Mohd Ridhwan Othman urged the Education Ministry and the state government to temporarily close all schools in Johor to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“We had appealed to the government to postpone the reopening of schools in February as the number of Covid-19 cases was still in the four digits. However, they continued with their plans to reopen schools in March.
“With the current situation where positive cases have been detected in schools, I hope the government will not delay the closure of all schools in Johor as the disease could easily spread from one school to another without us realising it, ” he said.
Johor English Language Teaching Association president Vincent D’Silva said the association was worried that some of the students from the affected schools would be behind in their studies.
“There is a mid-term examination coming, which is expected to be held after the Hari Raya Aidilfitri holidays.
“Students and pupils have missed out a whole year of studying in schools in 2020 due to Covid-19. Many of them are frustrated with online learning as they are unable to communicate with their teachers, ” he said.
State education, information, heritage and culture committee chairman Mazlan Bujang said 17 schools were ordered to close from April 18-27.
He said one of the schools, SMK Agama Johor Bahru, which was ordered to close on April 18, was allowed to reopen yesterday.
Mazlan added that the rest were still closed following the order from respective district health offices here.
The schools include SK Taman Kota Kulai 2 (closed from April 18-24), SK Taman Bukit Kempas and SK Seri Saujana in Kota Tinggi (April 19-25), SJK (C) Foon Yew 1 (April 20-22) and SMK Seri Menanti in Muar (April 20-24).
SK Taman Rinting 2, SJK (C) Pei Chih, SM Agama Attarbiah Al Islamiah, SM Sains Batu Pahat and SJK (C) Yong Peng 1 are closed from April 20-26, while SJK (C) Kulai, SJK Saleng, SMK Tun Fatimah Hashim, SMK Ulu Tiram, SK Taman Daya and SMK Senggarang are closed from April 20-27.
Meanwhile, state Islamic religious affairs committee chairman Tosrin Jarvanthi said about 10 Islamic religious schools in four districts in Johor were also ordered to close to allow sanitation works between April 18 and May 3.
Six religious schools in Mersing have also been ordered to close starting on Tuesday until May 3.
Meanwhile in Kota Kinabalu, Year Three pupils of a school in the city have been asked to undergo Covid-19 tests after one of their classmates tested positive.
The Kota Kinabalu Health Department had ordered all the pupils from the classrooms to take the swab test yesterday.
Cases of Covid-19 have been detected in three primary schools and the department is working with the schools’ management on steps to be taken.
A similar notice was given to specific classes among Year One pupils of the school, but a date and time for their swab test have yet to be set.
Sabah Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said they would be explaining the matter involving the schools later.
Masidi responded when asked about social media posts claiming that at least seven to eight schools, including kindergartens, had confirmed cases.
State Health Department director Datuk Dr Christina Rundi had yet to respond to the issues pertaining to schools with infections.
Most schools have continued to open as usual.