Varsities open for admission

PETALING JAYA: Campuses across the nation will reopen on Oct 15 with tighter standard operating procedures but only for fully vaccinated students and staff.

At the same time, Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad said the ministry would give a 20% fee reduction worth RM175mil to benefit 555,340 public higher education institution students for Semester One of the 2021/2022 academic session to ease their financial burden.

“The admission of fully vaccinated students into the higher education institutions (HEIs) involves all categories of students and all National Recovery Plan phases with priority given to students in need,” she said yesterday during the announcement of the SOP for HEIs.

Students in need include those who are required to do clinical or practical training, or access to facilities available only on campus.

A person is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the second dose of either the Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Sinovac vaccines, or 28 days after one dose of the Johnson & Johnson or CanSino vaccines.

Noraini said students who could not be vaccinated because of health reasons should contact their respective institutions for coordination.

“The numbers allowed on campus depend on the campus’ capacity and those present will have to adhere to strict SOP to curb the spread of the virus.

“This is a step towards ensuring the environment is safe and herd immunity on campus,” she said.

Noraini said 66% of students and 90% of HEI academic and non-academic staff were currently fully vaccinated with the ministry projecting to have everyone fully vaccinated by the end of October.

She added that the ministry was working with the Covid-19 Immunisation Taskforce (CITF) to speed up the vaccine rates for the campus fraternity before HEIs open their gates next month.

“Therefore, I call on all HEIs students and staff who have not yet been vaccinated to do so immediately,” she said, adding that they could walk into any vaccination centre.

“They just need to show their student or staff card and their MyKad.”

New students will need to present their MyKad together with their offer letter.

Those returning to campuses in Peninsular Malaysia only require a permission letter from their HEIs while HEIs in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan are subject to the SOP enforced by the respective state governments.

“Students must obtain a permission letter to cross state/district from the Royal Malaysia Police and must undergo the RT-PCR swab test,” said Noraini.

The test can be done for free at government health clinics for students.

She also said HEIs were encouraged to set up isolation centres to manage those with Covid-19 symptoms.

“Hybrid learning will continue even when campuses resume operations.

“For courses or programmes conducted online, students can choose to learn online in their respective localities.

“Activities involving laboratories, workshops, studios and research (on campus) can be carried out in groups, guided by the established SOP,” said Noraini.

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