Maszlee says schools must reopen in stages to prevent outbreaks
SCHOOL must reopen in stages starting in the areas with the fewest students instead of resuming all at once, to prevent new outbreaks, former education minister Dr Maszlee Malik said.
He questioned the Education Ministry’s (MOE) rationale for ordering the schools to reopen on September 1 without providing health and safety guidelines.
Maszlee said the schools should also be allowed to decide for themselves their reopening date after taking into account the Covid-19 cases in their respective areas.
“If MOE insists on reopening school, make sure it is done in phases starting with rural and interior schools where there are fewer students, followed by schools in green zones, and finally schools in areas that have vaccination rates above the herd immunity level,” Maszlee said in a statement today.
MOE must lay down clear SOPs, he said.
As vaccination is not possible for children below the age of 18, he said, MOE must ensure the teachers and school workers such as security guards and canteen employees, are vaccinated.
Classes should be rotated to limit the number of students in attendance, he said.
“For example, Standard One pupils can come to school on Monday and Wednesday; Standard Two pupils on Tuesday and Thursday. SPM and STPM students, however, should not have their schedules disrupted.”
Maszlee also called for pupils in Standards One to Three to return to physical classes soon as they had more trouble learning online.
He added that the number of students in class must be kept small and school hours shortened. The children should spend as much time outdoors as possible as health experts have emphasised the importance of ventilation.
Maszlee, who is Simpang Renggam MP, said parents and Education Department staff had told him they were concerned that the MOE had not adequately prepared the schools for reopening in September.
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