Safety and SOP first as varsity students return to hometowns

PETALING JAYA: University students have started making their way back to their respective hometowns for Hari Raya, with strict compliance to standard operating procedure (SOP).

Universiti Putra Malaysia Muhammad student representative Farhan Roslan said he had limited his movement in and out of the campus – especially to crowded places such as Ramadan bazaars – before travelling home.

He said those who previously returned to UPM in March had to go through a 10-day isolation period, which would have created a "safe" community within the campus.

The 24-year-old said he was determined to stay inside his social bubble to avoid posing a risk to his community back home.

He said he would return to Melaka on Sunday (May 9) on a bus arranged by the university, and that students are travelling according to zones.

The food science and technology student said the departure centre for students is in a hall inside UPM.

He said students have to go through temperature checks, submit health declarations and ensure that they follow other SOPs.

"Everybody is wearing a mask and reminding each other to mind the distance between one another," he said.

Farhan said he is expecting a modest Hari Raya celebration at a smaller scale with his immediate family members.

"It might seem smaller now but I think it would still be meaningful as long as we are spending it with our loved ones," he said.

For International Islamic University Malaysia student Siti Nur Aqilah Izzati Rosli, precautions enforced by her university include only allowing two representatives to pick up students from campus.

"Parents or guardians are not allowed to leave their car once they enter the campus.

"Students have to load their items into the car and immediately exit the campus," she said.

The 19-year-old nursing student said students are given a period of two days for travel back to their hometown.

Siti said she had anticipated that she would not be able to spend Hari Raya with her family.

"So, it was unexpected when we heard the news that we can return home," she said

Postgraduate student Faiznur Ain Ahmad Bakri said she had just arrived home in Raub, Pahang from her campus in Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), Johor.

"The journey took me longer than usual as roads were quite congested," she said.

The 30-year-old said students returning on their own from UTHM had to go follow strict procedure and obtain a letter from the university.

"We had to fill up a health declaration form and select the date of our trip, which the university had to approve.

"Those from enhanced MCO areas were not allowed to go back," she said.

The science biodiversity student said she hoped that everyone would follow SOPs during the Hari Raya break to help break the chain of infection.

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