Get stricter with school SOP, Education Ministry urged

Safety measures: Parents and students are not allowed to enter schools freely for the safety of everyone in the school. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: Tighter Covid-19 regulations and monitoring must be implemented in schools, say educationists and parents.

They are urging the Education Ministry to relook its standard operating procedure (SOP) in light of the number of students who tested positive for the virus at Sekolah Seri Puteri, Cyberjaya, and Kuala Pilah Matriculation College, Negri Sembilan.

“The existing SOP must be reviewed seriously and (they must) investigate what went wrong in this school’s case,” said educationist Prof Tan Sri Dr T. Marimuthu.

“Parents and students were given the assurance that boarding schools would be safe bubbles, so where did it go wrong?

“We cannot accept carelessness from anybody; it’s a serious breach and therefore, the ministry must seriously review its SOP,” he added.

Universiti Putra Malaysia consultant clinical microbiologist and Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences dean Prof Dr Zamberi Sekawi said the ministry should consider including regular Covid-19 testing for teachers in its SOP.

“This is especially so for boarding school teachers.

“We must ensure that teachers are not carriers of the virus and thus, regular testing is vital,” he said.

SMK (P) Bandaraya Parent-Teacher Association chairman Faizal Mohammad Arshad said teachers and school staff must be more vigilant about their movement.

“Students and parents are not allowed to enter and exit schools as they like, so it is the rest of the school fraternity who must be more responsible for themselves.

“If they are feeling even a little unwell, they must immediately conduct a self-test at the very least or just stay at home. This is very important,” he added.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted on Thursday that 242 students from SK Seri Puteri had been quarantined as Covid-19 close contacts.

He said 451 people at the school had been tested for Covid-19: 13 teachers, one staff member and 437 students. Of this, 71 students tested positive.

On Thursday, Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said 150 Form Five students from the school who were close contacts with 65 students who tested positive for the virus were transferred to Institut Aminuddin Baki (IAB), Bandar Enstek, Negri Sembilan.

He said the students would be quarantined with two to a room and closely monitored by a medical team.

Radzi was at IAB to observe the preparations being made to receive these students for quarantine.

On Sept 12, he had said that full boarding schools would become a safe bubble and students would have to take a saliva test three times before beginning school: when enrolling, on the sixth day, and on the 14th day.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Teaching Profession wants the weekly Covid-19 tests for primary school pupils to be conducted by parents instead of teachers.

“We hope the ministry will consider changing the SOP for the safety and health of our pupils, teachers and staffers,” its secretary-general Wang Heng Suan said in a statement on Thursday.

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